Friday, October 2, 2015

Teddy Macker: "Prayer"

dear lord in this time of darkness
help us see the darkness

dear lord help us to not pretend
no more pretending

dear lord may our gaze be defenseless
and unshardable

teach us the piety of the open eye

dear lord in this time of darkness
may we be unafraid to mourn and together and hugely

may dignity lose its scaffolding
faces crumble like bricks

dear lord let grief come to grief

and then o lord help us to see the bees yet in the lavender
the spokes of sunlight down through the oaks

and the sleep-opened face of the beloved
and the afternoon all around her
and her small freckled hands  

“Prayer” by Teddy Macker. Text as published in This World (White Cloud Press, 2015). © Teddy Macker. Reprinted by permission of the poet.  

Art credit: Untitled image from an unknown photographer in this news story about Thursday's mass shooting in Roseburg, Oregon (USA).

Curator's note: All my thanks to the poet Teddy Macker for helping me prepare this post late last night, my time. I had another poem scheduled for today, but then I got word of the horrific shooting at Umpqua Community College. A different poem was needed. I emailed Teddy (a wonderful poet I've never met) in the off-chance I might get his permission to use his poem at the last minute. As it happened, he was just then reading online about the tragedy. At once he graciously agreed.

This project concerns poetry, not politics. But it also concerns mindfulness, which is as much about others as about the self. So allow me to say that President Obama is right: We need to offer everyone affected by this violence our thoughts and prayers, but our thoughts and prayers aren't enough.

We must mourn, but as Teddy says, we must also see "with the piety of the open eye." Let us vow: "No more pretending." For the sake of the beloved, let us demand action to address the underlying causes of these shootings.


  1. Thanks to Poet and to Curator for this lovely, necessary poem...

  2. Thank you so much. From one poet to another, it was a gift to find Teddy, both a like mind, and talented voice. Thanks Phyllis and A Year of Being Here. I love the daily dose of poetry also. Ana Lisa de Jong (Author 'Songs in the Night' and 'Hope Springs')

    1. You're very welcome! And best wishes to you in your own creative work. (I would suggest you submit some poetry, but with the project closing on 1/1/2016, I'm no longer accepting submissions.) Deep peace....

    2. Oh, I will be sorry to see this publication cease. It has given me much blessing and pleasure on a daily basis to read the poetry. Thank you.

    3. You're so kind. Thank you. A difficult decision, to draw down the project. Let's enjoy it to the end!

  3. I'm reading this in 2022. We have had so many mass shootings since the one that led you to post this. These words are still necessary and the work is not done.

  4. Will poetry finally give us the couraage to take political action?


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