Kyrie! (cough! cough!)

How do I sort tenacious longings out
When they are my longings, not stray socks?
I, who am multiple, ask this of myself
And know that I am asking the wrong one, really
But the right one, too, as if I were another
And could ask the one of me who doesn’t long

Longings and logic are hardly fast friends
And so they clash, they scrape and lacerate
Ignoring any transcendent balm or tonic
Stashed in the medicine cabinet of the heart
Unopened because it is what bears the ache
Is exactly where the pain originates
I can’t reach what I take to be the cure
The heart, at times it seems, is wholly lacking
The heart to nurse its own intense travail

And no one else with face of bone and flesh
Is there to tell about my sad mis-longing
(It’s THAT, I want to say, that truly burns!)

Oh sure, this is the time for God, for prayer
To throw on the mercy of that eternal court
A  soul that cries like a snake, tail in mouth
A gaze fallen into a fog that is itself
“I need Thee, oh, I need Thee,” it tries to sing
But only with a coarse and weakened voice
For longing is indeed the problem here

Longing should be for that beyond space-time
For rest in Him, found by the restless heart
For only that which truly draws our longing

As if I had not known this well already
As if it were a button to push, a switch
To throw, rather than feeling self as thrown
Rather than being what does not do the longing
And telling the longing to go the hell away
The hell, indeed the Hell is in the longing
That cannot long for its own full cessation
Death will not do for this angel of death

So I guess these lines will trace an unsaid plea
Like “I believe, God, help my unbelief”
Just not belief, but longing is at stake
So end of my longing, help my longing find
Its end somehow instead of household idols
That I’m forever moving to throw away
But always polishing, putting away again
Always longing, lusting, losing grip

Sinning that grace may abound

.                                                       Christ, have mercy.

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