catholic poetry room
This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Linda McCullough Moore.

School for Worship

My neighbor Marjorie, at the age of 63,
has got herself so recently a rock star
she now follows town to town.
London, Cape Town, Cincinnati.
She’s taken no instruction in adoring,
none in spending all she had to follow him.
A little boy at bedtime tells his mother,
“Wake me early. I want to lie in bed
and think about Miss Janet.” The preschool
teacher he would give up every member
of his family, plus the dog, to know,
and he is yet to visit elementary school.
This crooner and the nursemaid. These people
who are quiet and who make a lot of noise
inspire devotion. It’s not hard to pick a savior.
It’s not hard to worship once the love’s in place.
Would they were my teachers.
My own worship wanting.
Some days I think my praise must weigh
God down. So surely land as leaden;
the old, wool army blanket – left over
from the war between the righteous –
smelly, sodden, I attempt to drape
upon his shoulders as he slumps.
Frivolous or cunning. I think about
the ways and means and whys and
wherefores – I have always loved
the wherefore of a thing – but I am
reduced to wiles and calculation.
So that even now, must I be taught
to startle; schooled to tremble
once on holy ground; instructed how
to shiver, sneeze at seraph feathers;
blink at blinding light, be taught
to tell when love is found.

Linda McCullough Moore is the author of two story collections, a novel, an essay collection and more than 350 shorter published works. She is the winner of the Pushcart Prize as well as winner and finalist for numerous national awards. Her first story collection was endorsed by Alice Munro and, equally as joyous, she frequently hears from readers who write to say her work has made a difference in their lives. For many years she has mentored award-winning writers of fiction, poetry, and memoir. She is currently completing a novel, Time Out of Mind, and a collection of her poetry.

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