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Let us believe in a strong god,
who makes the oceans
roar and the wind crack about our ears…
For we are envious of this, and to
believe in a gentle god,
therefore, does not become us.
—John Haines, “Pictures and Parables, IV”

But if God were gentle,
here’s what would become us:
bluest sky, the sun-warmed porch, both
beholding a glorious afternoon;
a couple of hummers buzzing
one another and synthetic flowers strung
from the eaves of drowsy cottages
in their staggered, settled rows;
patches of heat, patches of swifter cool,
gulls and butterflies riding
the easy overlap; the oblivious bees
busiest among the wine-red geraniums;
the breeze-borne pine;
the near swish along a length of shore.
This perfect day—
and then a doze, a little more
of sailing the muddling resubmergence
into all of a life that’s come before—
a convergence too complex
to register, though no less corporeal
for its mysteries, for its streams,
for its coursing through the
unwished, the essential, sorrows.

Photo by Jacqueline O’Gara on Unsplash

D.R. James

D. R. James lives in the woods outside Saugatuck, Michigan, and has recently retired from Hope College after 37 years of teaching writing, literature, and peace studies. His most recent of ten collections is Mobius Trip (Dos Madres Press, 2021).


  • Todd says:

    Imagine that!

    1 Kings 19:11-12
    Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.

  • I love this poem! So true.