A poem written “under the influence” of Grace Paley potentially for many of us.
What would you have me do differently
at this point in time?
How can your seven years inform my seventy?
[Direct address to my seven-year-old self
after reading Grace Paley’s poem, “In the Bus”]
Begin again. Let go of judgments on your self
by acting in the face of them. See through them
for the phantoms that they are: Warts, growths
on your Catholic imagination. There’s so much
more to see than you have imagined.
Then, pen in hand, create your world
rejecting what is not true, what does not
resonate with you. Examine your conscience––
a good thing––with emphasis on direction
and not on sin.
The sin in life is giving away your self
illegitimately, as you did for so many years
thinking it Christian. The freely chosen act
of mercy done without pressure from any source
is what will bless another and last for good.
I know at seven you think me young to be
donning the advisor’s cap. Nevertheless
I am Easter to you. It is I who can move the stone
that blocks the entrance to the tomb where you sit
alive inside in the dark awaiting the dawn, where
I already am. In the light I can see there’s time
for you to fulfill what you came to do.
Say the word and I will remove the stone
that limits the light in your personal darkness.