Dead man walking as he goes to dine –
The handing over broached and squared away –
He settles to the gossip and the wine,
The casual banter and the heart at play.
The host, benignant, gazes from his chair,
The pointer smartens as the dishes rise:
Part of the company is debonair,
Part of it weathered-out beyond surprise.
And to the lot, a creature of excess,
Her love unstinting as the lavished nard
That perfumes all the house to thank and bless
The man who’d keep his promise, dying hard,
She comes, intrusive, wiser than almost all.
The traitor’s turning white as any pall.
– Peter Steele, The Gossip & The Wine
A prayer, written by Maren Tirabassi, during the United States war with Iraq in 1991.
We draw a holy comma
in rushed and busy lives.
We follow down
old scripture words
the journey to Jerusalem.
We stumble into prayer again
and whisper soft
the dearest, fearest
of our thoughts.
Last year’s palms
crumble into ashes.
Last year’s peace
weeps into war.
We sing of Gethsemane
amid new tears, new bleeding.
The screaming bombs
burn crosses in our hearts –
this too is God’s story.
but also Ramadan’s fast,
Passover’s freedom memory,
Easter’s crazy contradiction.
Faith is born of prayer
and sings with courage,
while all the children
of the earth
shelter in the wings of God
awaiting our embrace.
– Maren C. Tirabassi Gifts of Many Cultures (PIlgrim Press 1995)