Saturday, February 9, 2013

Jessie Dolch: "The Priest Writes His Desire"

For Thomas Hand, SJ, friend to Ruben Habito

Shadows on the scans.
Nothing they can do, doctors say.
So he sits with a pen in his hand
to tell his friends. He is not surprised;
he had been weakening every day.

And God has manifested in his good health
for more than eighty years.
Now, he writes, it is "a blessing
to have things clear, with no need
to make a lot of difficult decisions."

Now, God manifests in his final illness
"and this is great," he writes,
though perhaps no one will understand
as they see only the loss and darkness ahead
while he stands in the light of transformation.

Some may talk to him of heaven
and comfort and the things to come.
All this, he knows well,
but now, he sits in the night
with the pen in his hand

and thinks that with tumors and shadows
in his stomach and lungs
he has no interest in the land
of the future. Why should he?
when right now the moon is full

and even near midnight
casts shadows in the dark – of the trees,
of the parish house where he lives,
of the chapel's holy cross,
of his own hand as he writes
What I really want
is to become the Flow of the Spirit...
to fully enter into the movement of Reality.
No scenarios about what's to come.
Just live the Now.
Now, putting the pen down.
Now, folding the paper just right.
Now, breathing in.
Now, rising in all the moonlight
and walking with his shadow

from this room
to the next.

"The Priest Writes His Desire" by Jessie Dolch. No other bibliographic information available.

Photographic credit: Unknown (originally color).



  1. I just took a run at searching for bibliographic information on Jessie Dolch. I found an article in 'Tricycle' by a Jessie Dolch. Here's the link: You need to be a subscriber to read the full article. A Jessie Dolch is also mentioned in the Acknowledgments section of a book published by Yale Press called, 'Eastern Orthodox Christianity' by Bryn Geffert. He is thanked for his work as a copy editor. A search for Dolch at the Yale Press site came up empty.

    I also found a nice article of recollection of Father Thomas Hand by Ruben Habito. Here's that URL:

    1. Thanks for your detective work on this, Dan! (Apologies for the tardy reply. I was traveling, mostly unplugged.)


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