No. 4 & 5


Olga-María C. Cruz  

Drinking in the Wind
  after Jeremiah Burroughs

A hungry man may stand
all day with his mouth open
drinking in the wind.
He thinks the air 
will fill him up,
and so he stands for hours—
mouth wide open,
arms wide open—
trying to eat the wind.

But he remains hungry.
No amount of air can satisfy.
The wind, vast as it is,
has not the capacity
to fill him up.


I am sure I used to know God.
I learned all about Him in school.
I knew all the things they taught
me to be true. Jesus was God
among us, and the Word made flesh.
The Bible had no contradictions.

There were more answers there,
than questions. Questions were,
one felt, somehow impolite. The
little bearded men had sorted
everything out already, in their books.
But they are far away now,

and I am drifting down the Elkhorn 
in  your canoe, to a greener place.
The questions are stronger here.
The heavy, bearded voices are lost
among the bird cries, the wind 
in reeds and treetops.

And here with you, there is 
such tenderness toward existence,
benevolence toward Being, such
freedom. Somehow, I am the more
certain God is with us.

St. Teresa to Her Daughters

It is no small pity,
& should cause us 
no little shame, 
that through our own fault
we do not understand ourselves.
Would it not be a sign
of great ignorance, my dears,
if a person, when asked,
could not say who she was,
who her parents were,
from what country she came?
Our own ignorance is 
incomparably greater
if we make no attempt
to understand our souls—
the beautiful & precious qualities
that lie within.

The soul is an enormous castle
full of rooms & many many doors
& in the centre 
is the chiefest hall
where the most secret things pass 
between the soul & God.

All the Christian life is a 
journey toward this inner chamber,
full intimacy with the Divine.
This journey, sisters, demands
great humility & a reckless love.
When we proceed toward 
His Majesty with caution,
we find obstacles at every turn,
are constantly fearful.
We dare not go further,
as though we could arrive
at these mansions by
letting others journey for us!

No, dear daughters,
let us leave both fear & reason 
in God’s hands:
Our task is only to travel onward
that we may each find
the sweetness, 
the clear light
in the courtyard 
of that inmost castle.

Descartes: Meditations

I understand rest only as 
cessation of movement;
I comprehend darkness
only as absence of light.
I try to know God.
I know that I am.
I know I am not that
Creator spirit—even the 
concept of a perfect being,
all-knowing, eternal,
though inescapable 
is far distant from my 
imperfect self.
But it does not matter
that I do not grasp the infinite.
It is enough to brush 
the feathered edges of divinity
with my fingertips.


She looks like any other young black girl,
taller than most, long hair straightened
and pulled over her shoulder in a braid.
Her blue jeans are tight and low. Her tiny
pink t-shirt, American Eagle, matches pink
lips and nails. Only when she speaks
can you tell she’s not from here,
east end or west. Her vowels are shy, lofty,
her d’s and t’s too soft. Only by asking
would you ever know she is from Rwanda.
Yes, she saw her parents die, and many
others, too—slaughtered with machetes
by what the press called “Hutu militiamen.” 
She knew these men as neighbors. Of the 
thirteen members of her family, only two others 
are left—a brother and a cousin, both babies 
at the time. She has come to you for help
with English. She wants to go to college soon.
And so you sit with her,
and teach her words like “inordinate”
and “recrimination,” all the while wondering,
when Christ was growing up, did He hear
stories about the Slaughter of the Innocents?
Or did He watch it happen
with omniscient infant eyes
and do nothing?

30 Dec

This is the time
 between the times
a place where all possibilities
 lie open
 but unseen
the time of stillness,
between the birth of a redeemer
 and epiphany of kings
between the old year’s dying
and the birthing of the new
a gap between spokes in the wheel
where burdens are let fall
and sins repented

And twelve months fresh stand forth
with gifts
or stones
according to their welcome.



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