Some days, although we cannot pray, a prayer
utters itself. So, a woman will lift
her head from the sieve of her hands and stare
at the minims sung by a tree, a sudden gift.
Some nights, although we are faithless, the truth
enters our hearts, that small familiar pain;
then a man will stand stock-still, hearing his youth
in the distant Latin chanting of a train.
Pray for us now. Grade 1 piano scales
console the lodger looking out across
a Midlands town. Then dusk, and someone calls
a child's name as though they named their loss.
Darkness outside. Inside, the radio's prayer—
Rockall. Malin. Dogger. Finisterre.*
*[Curator's note: These last words are from the "Shipping Forecast," a BBC Radio broadcast of weather reports and forecasts for the seas around the British Isles. Rockall, Malin, Dogger and Finisterre are four "sea areas." My friend Mary O'Connor, a poet born in Ireland, tells me the "Shipping Forecast" is "often the last thing on BBC Radio between midnight and two."]
Photography credit: Detail from "Man watching people go by," by stefg74, Greece, 2010 (originally black and white).