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So many of those I’ve loved
have paid their last debt
to nature My prayers  
changed nothing though I’d set
my heart on changing God  
Eyes heavenward I get
caught in the conundrum  
certain they’ve met
the divine presence
& yet
when speaking of death’s
short sleep I forget
resurrection is two-tiered  
& I don’t have to sweat
my imagination’s limitations
of molecules reconfiguring or let

sentiment make me linger graveside
filled with regret

My soul’s eager to see
those who’ve gone before
but to see you my Lord
so much more

Photo by Einar Storsul on Unsplash

D.S. Martin

D.S. Martin is the author of five poetry collections, including Angelicus (2021), Ampersand (2018), and Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis (2013) — all from Cascade Books. He is Poet-in-Residence at McMaster Divinity College, the Series Editor for the Poiema Poetry Series. He and his wife live in Brampton, Ontario; they have two adult sons.


  • Laurie Klein says:

    You had me at the first line, Don.
    So often, with prayer, we are the ones changed.
    Even long-distance, I hope you can sense my heart’s amen to the final stanza!

  • Susan says:

    This one made me read it several times…not because anything was missing, but to memorize the tune. I wanted to hear again what I’ve forgotten so the chorus of the last lines would stay with me.

    I love how succinctly and without weepy affect you capture the unwieldiness of praying for loved ones before they die.

  • Louise Mantel says:

    Exactly so!

  • I’ve often contemplated, a bit uneasily, the same conundrum you put so well. Two-tiered resurrection, and molecules… and what will that meeting be like? I was so taken with the sense of what I was reading that I only noticed the rhymes and other sounds the second time around. A great poem!

  • Ryan Apple says:

    Good work, Don! I especially appreciate the rhymes, the way you build off Donne’s poem, and the changed/changing in lines 4-5.

  • Ryan Keating says:

    Thank you for this poem, Don. I’m again honored to have my work appear next to yours! I relate to the disappointment of prayers that are not answered as I wish, and to the reality that confronts me about the ultimate hope of fulfimment in those moments.