Jan 24 about long nights and guardian angels

Friday, January 24, 2014

Some friends live in Stockholm, a lot closer to the Arctic Circle than we are in Motown; both cities have cold snaps today. We have 2 hours and 12 minutes more daylight than they. My friends pay attention to interior lighting — patches of sharp bright light placed to contrast with dim light elsewhere. Surprising how refreshing that can be on long winter nights.

About today’s poem: I got talking with a fellow UDM employee two days ago and the topic of angels came up. I told her/him that my niece, Terri, has occasionally written about her grandmother’s passion for guardian angels. Here’s one: flint-hard, unblinking, fierce intergenerational love: grandmother sending prayers and angels; granddaughter “without any gods”; both full of tenderness.

Have a good weekend. Bundle up in the wind gusts.

john st sj


Published, Fall 1998

Prayers That Mean Something

Grandmother loans out guardian angels.
She is generous with them, always
has an extra. I suppose she’s been
collecting them, maybe inheriting them,
one every five years or so,
from loved ones gone.

If my need is truly great, she sends two or three, or
one of her best, my grandfather’s
or her own. She
grips my hand, without
fragility, tells me,
“You are good” and
it means just that.

When Grandmother says she’ll pray for something,
it is wise to have faith. For her,
even wishbone wishes come true.

Her prayers are long,
include every grandchild by name.
She prays, “Dear Lord, for what is best…”
and it is not less to be one
of so many grandchildren, for
her prayers have strength.

And she prays,
“Dear God, thank you that I still am able,” as
she hangs wet clothing between
two trees older than she, but
less gnarled.

And I, without any gods, pray too, pray, dear god dear
god, dear

that she still is able.

Terri Breeden

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