The Question of All Saints

It is All Saints Day in the Church calendar here in the Latin West. We expand the horizon of our indebtedness to all those who have gone before and passed on to us a legacy of faithfulness. It’s tarnished with all manner of stains, battered by storms, washed in blood and tears.

But today we polish it up, look into it, try to see the treasure that is our inheritance. And maybe sometimes in it we can see our face, our own finite face. And we know that it too will merge someday into the chorus of the ancestors. So it’s a somber time as well as a grateful time.

In the midst of the utter destruction of the Superstorm that has devastated New York and New Jersey we know that death is not merely an end time but always a darkness lying not far from our doors.

So it’s a time of reflection on our own dying, just as it’s a time of reflection on our own loving and whether it extends beyond our life. At least, that’s how it came to me this year.

How did I do?

I mean

my death?

Did I slip the latch

in silence

leaving no address,

only breath to pass

between their open lips?

Was I screaming mad

at tubes and wires

that tethered me

against my twisted will?

Was I anxious

for the soup

I left on simmer?

Was my mind distracted

by the bills unpaid?

Did I weep

for unforgiven injuries?

Did my fingers let the feather go

to float among the dancing children

in a field of buttercups?

Did I

(that’s the question)



I love you,

love you,

love you

to the face that filled God’s light?

2 thoughts on “The Question of All Saints”

  1. Thanks Bill. Thinking of you both during this time of such frightful devastation. Hope all is well in Waynesville.

  2. Thanks, Bill. So right, so true, so beautifully so.
    Hope to connect sometime; we are savoring life in New Mexico; I have accepted a professorship in Germany, beginning in March, 2013 (delayed by a semester). Also just received a fellowship as artist-in-residence at the Santa Fe Art Institute, which I’ll “do” next summer after teaching.
    Love to Sylvia!… Mark

Comments are closed.