This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Alan Altany.

Man at Prayer

As the new dawn’s sunlight
became stained glass windows,
an old man in a church pew
was bent over in prayer,
almost crumpled in a low heap,
head bent down in worship
at the time of Communion.
A long life became a moment
of innocent public intimacy
in the mystery of his saintly
and sinner’s supplication
on a Sunday morning
this near side of eternity.
Without embarrassment,
with singular piety,
this particular man
gratefully surrenders
to his God
as billions have done

Alan Altany, Ph.D., is a septuagenarian college professor of religious studies. He’s been a factory worker, swineherd on a farm, hotel clerk, lawn maintenance worker, small magazine of poetry editor, director of religious education for churches, truck driver, director of university professional faculty development centers, novelist, etc. He published a book of poetry in 2022 entitled A Beautiful Absurdity: Christian Poetry of the Sacred. His website is at

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