Monday, June 26, 2017

On Prayer

The challenge was posted on the Pol-UK facebook page yesterday. “Just to remind you that I am still waiting for your poems / flash fiction inspired by Polish culture.” I seem to remember a Saturday night at the Sunset Café dedicated to Polish Poets. The task was to read a poem by a Polish poet and use it as a springboard to writing your own poem on the same theme. It was all too late for me to write anything but I hunted down a poem or two – not for reading out loud, just to say to myself I knew a Polish poet.

I imagine myself sometimes on the TV quiz show “Pointless”, at the last hurdle, with the topic “Winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature”. I hope there are no Polish people in the hundred people surveyed. I pull the name “Czeslaw Milosz” out of the hat. A pointless answer. I walk away with thousands of pounds! Czeslaw Milosz – please don’t ask me to pronounce his name – “ranks among the most respected figures in twentieth-century Polish literature”.

I read “On Prayer” and wrote this:-

On Prayer

You ask
You plead
You insist that I pray
For your mother
For your friend
For your sick child
A tricky operation
A job interview
The saving of a hell-bound soul

What is prayer anyway?
Not a spell
Not the wave of a star tipped wand
Not a twisting of the arm of the Almighty

I have to warn you
I’m not sure He listens to me
My knees are not bruised enough
My heart doesn’t burn
My words are too pale
I’ve forgotten how to weep

Sleeping Jacob saw a ladder and
Angels and
God
Active in a world that has closed its eyes
Wide awake
I see a ceiling and
Hear only silence

I pray anyway
I pray for the healing of a broken world
For shattered people to be repaired
Make it better, Lord

The answer comes all too swiftly
You make it better, child

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