With Mercy For The Greedy by Anne Sexton
for my friend Ruth, who urges me to make an appointment for the Sacrament of Confession
Concerning your letter in which you ask
me to call a priest and in which you ask
me to wear The Cross that you enclose;
your own cross,
your dog-bitten cross,
no larger than a thumb,
small and wooden, no thorns, this rose --
I pray to its shadow,
that gray place
where it lies on your letter ... deep, deep.
I detest my sins and I try to believe
in The Cross. I touch its tender hips, its dark jawed face,
its solid neck, its brown sleep.
True. There is
a beautiful Jesus.
He is frozen to his bones like a chunk of beef.
How desperately he wanted to pull his arms in!
How desperately I touch his vertical and horizontal axes!
But I can't. Need is not quite belief.
All morning long
I have worn
your cross, hung with package string around my throat.
It tapped me lightly as a child's heart might,
tapping secondhand, softly waiting to be born.
Ruth, I cherish the letter you wrote.
My friend, my friend, I was born
doing reference work in sin, and born
confessing it. This is what poems are:
for the greedy,
they are the tongue's wrangle,
the world's pottage, the rat's star.
I am reading about nonduality. (How could Jesus dying brutally, violently, cruelly by crucifixion have such an impact on bringing love, mercy and forgiveness into the world? A paradox, no?) How have I not ever studied duality/nonduality before? I came across the subject in an amazing, 138 page book that Little Flower gave me, "you are here" by Thich Nhat Hahn. She bookmarked the chapter, "Healing Our Wounds and Pain". Indeed. It continually surprises & astounds me, page after page. Some books we are meant to read exactly when we are supposed to read them. This is one for me. xo