Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Another Episode of Poetry Corner

In The Church

The priest went into the church in the evening, around ten o'clock,
into the dim, deserted sanctuary, so quiet,
just to see that all was well in the house of the Lord.
And as he walked along the aisle,
he noticed hanging on the end of the pew,
a pair of pants and a jacket,
and shoes and socks on the floor.
"That's strange," he thought, and just as he thought it,
The door of the confessional moved.
"Who's in there?" he demanded,
And a voice behind the door answered,
"I'm in here with my son."
"This isn't a public toilet," the priest said,
and the voice replied, "Just give me five minutes
and we'll be out of here."
But the priest said, "No, get out now!"
And with that, the door opened
and out came the man whose pants were on the pew,
and right behind him a woman, disheveled too,
and the man pulled on his pants, and grabbed his jacket and shoes,
and they hurried past the priest
without conversation or confession
and out of the church. So,
what should the priest do now?
He could have laughed, and tossed a blessing after them.
But instead, he ran and got the license plate number
as the car pulled away.
He went into the rectory and called the cops.
They'll be in court next week.
They're in the paper this morning, front page, bottom right.
He is forty-two. She is thirty-five. They aren't married
(surprise, surprise). The paper mentioned that he's balding.
Is it more remarkable for a bald guy
to do such a thing? They told the police
that they'd gone into the church to grieve.
They'd been out to dinner, they were talking
about recent deaths in their families.
A little hard to believe?
Too bad the priest, whose profession is belief,
couldn't have looked at it
as a sort of miracle --
the miracle of the two people
appearing at the confessional
on a Tuesday night -- the miracle
of human resourcefulness and desire.
Maybe they really did sit and grieve for a while,
and then he put his arm around her, to comfort her,
and they started kissing,
and there was the confessional booth...what else could they do?
However it went, it's obvious that God, knowing
what was going to happen, knowing what they were feeling,
knowing everything --
God would have smiled, if God
Smiles, watching them slip together
into the hush and darkness of the church.

Howard Nelson


James R said...

Nice, but why is it called a poem? And, why, for the love of God, did he put his pants, etc. on the pew?!

Big Myk said...

You have asked two questions. Perhaps they were meant to be rhetorical. In any event, here are the answers in the order the questions were made.

First, why call it a poem? Answer: Because the author did. The German poet Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel said, "A definition of poetry can only determine what poetry should be and not what poetry actually was and is; otherwise the most concise formula would be: Poetry is that which at some time and some place was thus named." Normative thinking is so yesterday.

And now to the second: Why did the man leave his pants hanging on the pew? That's clear enough. He didn't want them dirtied and rumpled -- either because they were a nice pair of pants and he wanted to avoid an extra cleaing bill or he didn't want to have to explain away a pair of mussed up pants.

James R said...

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master - that's all."
—Through the Looking Glass.