The Poetry of Evil

I have read and read and read
Posts and articles
Prayers and sermons
I have listened
I have thought
I have prayed – or tried to
I have raged
I have wept

I have watched through the night
Wakeful with unrest
Wakeful with anger
Wakeful with sorrow
Wakeful with a thousand memories
Wakeful with a million fears
Wakeful, perhaps, like a victim

And then I read more
Addicted to the words
Seeking refuge in thoughts

Overwhelmed, I read
Of victims and cover-ups
Of sadism and collusion
Sadly, I read of institutional complicity
And knew it to be true
Searching, I read of needed reform
And knew I agreed
Hopeful, I read Francis’ letter
And knew it to be inadequate

I read of everything
But evil
I thought of everything
But evil
Until I read
“The grace to be open to the gift of poetry”
And then I thought
Of evil
I thought
The anti-grace to be open to the seduction of evil
The poetry of evil

Are we distracted
By words
By reform
By the institutional faults
From the essential evil?

The garden is so overgrown
So in need of pruning
So in need of a new landscape vision
That we cannot see the serpent
Whispering in the gardeners’ ears
Seducing them with the forbidden fruit
Though the juices run red down their faces.

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