Thursday, 26 March 2009

by Luci Shaw (from

They asked, and he brought quails,
And gave them food from heaven.
—Psalm 105:40

I'm not asking for quails for dinner
and if they flew in my window at mealtime,
in a torrent of wind, I would think
panic, not miracle.
Time is so multiple and fluid. I lose a day
flying west, and gain it back returning.
I am ravenous to know where I am today.
And who. And how am I to be fed? And if
the prayer I offered this morning at first light
was known and answered last week
am I in some horizontal pleat of time,
some rock crevice in the mountain's shoulder
with a great hand shielding me from
the tempest of too much knowledge?
You never know what a simple request
will get you. So, no expectation of birds
from heaven. Rather, I will commit myself
to this quotidian wilderness, watching for what
the wind may bring me next—
perhaps a small wafer tasting like honey
that I can pick up with my fingers
and lay on my tongue
to ease, for this day, my hunger to know.


  1. A wonderful poem. It made me think of the story of Therese Martin, the 19th century cloistered nun, now a bit of an icon called variously Therese/a of the Child Jesus or the Little Flower. She wrote an autobiography in which she mentioned praying for a good outcome for something already past -- a holy death for a convicted murderer, I believe. When realizing the man had already been executed, she wrote that, God being outside of time, had no problem with answering prayers coming to Him/Her a bit late. She was confident they would be answered. I somehow find that comforting, being someone who sometimes lets things pass until they are past due!

  2. Me too, Barb. I find it really comforting. I was watching something the other night, about an Australian drug trafficker who was hanged in Malaysia for his crimes. I was doing exactly the same thing. Our time is rather a flimsy material in situation such as those, I think :)

    Have you ever prayed to God about Jesus hanging on the cross, prayed for extra strength for him etc? That's going back a bit further in time.

    Actually, I like to take him back in time with me to my own earlier experiences. The more harrowing ones, I reimagine them with him there too. Another form of prayer, I suppose. A rather healing one.

    Hooray for fluidity! :)

  3. I can't say as I've prayed for extra strength on the cross for Jesus. I do imagine him with me when I find myself in a jam, though. We have a good discussion then -- look what a fine mess you got me into this time, Ollie kind of discussion. I find that very effective and healing.

  4. It's funny, as I read back over your comment to mine I think, "Extra strength?" Why would he require extra strength? So I am wondering now about my own comment, hehe. I mean, if you are the son of God, do you need an "extra" dose of the Father? Isn't that why he ended up in that position in the first place, because he was full of that Father?

    I guess I just more think that I want to place myself there, literally, sitting 2000 years away. I want to join the chorus of voices that are murmuring solace as he walks the road. Sounds a bit flaky maybe, but it's kinda special.

    What is an Ollie kind of discussion?


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