Feb 15 – an improbable winter welcome


Monday, February 15,   “Making the House Ready for the Lord”

I have not posted this Mary Oliver winter poem since 2 years and 4 days ago.  This gray Monday morning I stood at an East-facing window in the Jesuit Residence out onto the large parking lot watching university employees straggle in, crunch across the snow, and decide on a resting space for the work day.  Were the snow serious and exquisite, perhaps another poem would have come to mind.  Today the snow is unassuming and ordinary, work-a-day snow.  M Oliver’s poem strikes me as work-a-day too.   “Making the House Ready for the Lord” emerges from the depths of winter.  It’s cold outside,” says the poet, “How deep might the capacity for welcome run?  Whose house is it anyway?”

Winter won’t last forever.   Have a blest day.   Read the poem out loud if you can.

john sj


Today’s Post:  “Making the House Ready for the Lord”

Dear Lord, I have swept and I have washed but
still nothing is as shining as it should be
for you. Under the sink, for example, is an
uproar of mice – it is the season of their
many children. What shall I do? And under
the eaves
and through the walls the squirrels
have gnawed their ragged entrances – but it is
the season
when they need shelter, so what shall I do?
And the raccoon limps into the kitchen and
opens the cupboard
while the dog snores, the cat hugs the pillow;
what shall I do? Beautiful is the new snow falling
in the yard and the fox who is staring boldly
up the path to the door. And still I believe
you will
come, Lord: you will, when I speak to the fox,
the sparrow, the lost dog, the shivering
sea-goose, know
that really I am speaking to you whenever I say,
as I do all morning and afternoon: Come in,
Come in.

Mary Oliver


p.s. When I pulled this February 11, 2014 post off the archive blog, the blog header came along with it, along with a right margin banner.   I decided to keep it today; something I’ve never done before.  The header and banner can remind us readers that since its September 2013 beginning, the Work Day/Hard Time list has posted 326 poem-posts.  All searchable looking for an author’s name or any other word at https://sites.udmercy.edu/poetry  The most recent post appears at the top.   Last April, the university’s IT team began counting visitors and visits.  As of this morning, the site has received 15,151 visitors browsing about with 42,649 visits.


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