"Evening Prayers" by Eugene Ernest Hillemacher‘Oh, What Is Prayer?’ and Other Poetry by Theresa Rodriguez The Society May 21, 2020 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 13 Comments Oh, What Is Prayer? Oh, what is prayer? Is it a mystery, that bridges earth and heaven in a cry, that reaches to the infinite? A sigh, A groan, a whisper, tears that come to be admixed from faith and high anxiety or deep recesses of the soul. Whereby the being arches up, and in, to try to touch omnipotence with probity. But sometimes silence follows all the din of many fears and questions and requests; and sometimes there is nothing in return, or yet at least it seems this way. Within the quake and hard unknowing fully rests desire yet: to seek, and burn, and yearn. Where Is the Fire? Where is the fire that once burned so bright? Where is the eager faith that I once had? Where is the happiness, where I was glad To share my Lord and know Him in His light? I once had so much energy of heart, And fervor that my light would shine to all, And confidence in what’s the Christian’s call, But now His grace and I are far apart. It seems that all is dead and gone. No more Do embers and the burning flames grow high Or deep within me. Emptiness abounds, And dryness. Oh, the Lord that I adore, Or did adore— oh, are you far, or nigh? My lack perplexes, saddens, and confounds. The Prayers of Youth The prayers of youth begin with fervent heat, And all the passions of a lover’s love, And all the ardor of an earnest, sweet, Excited faith, transcendent from above. But as we age, our prayers, liked finest wine Grow dry but complex. Nothing like before, But staying steady on. Oh, where is mine, The fires of my youth, oh, where the store Of heat and passion, that seems now so dead? It is more even now. Not without fire, Just more an ember, which maintains instead And makes a glow and warmth out of desire. Oh, keep me on the warm and lighted way, That you might fan me when I go astray. Theresa Rodriguez is the author of Jesus and Eros: Sonnets, Poems and Songs, a sonnet chapbook, and her third book of poetry, entitled Longer Thoughts, which has just been released by Shanti Arts. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Religion and Intellectual Life, the Midwest Poetry Review, Leaf Magazine, the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship, The Road Not Taken: A Journal of Formal Poetry, Mezzo Cammin, and the Society of Classical Poets. Her website is www.bardsinger.com. NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets. NOTE TO POETS: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. CODEC News:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 13 Responses Leo Zoutewelle May 21, 2020 Prayer as a serious adventure – well done, Theresa! Reply Theresa Rodriguez May 21, 2020 Thank you very much, Leo!! Reply Joseph S. Salemi May 21, 2020 In “Where Is the Fire”” you need another foot in line 10. An extra word would do it, such as Do embers and the burning flames grow high Reply Theresa Rodriguez May 21, 2020 Thank you very much, Dr. Salemi, for pointing that out. I’ll ask Evan to amend it. Reply James A. Tweedie May 21, 2020 And, unless I am mistaken, in “O, What Is Prayer?” There are opening iambs missing in lines 11 & 12 and a foot in line 13. Regardless, these are lovely, heartfelt, reflective poems, reminiscent of the Psalms, and of Christ’s self-identification with the prophetic figure in Psalm 22. Theresa Rodriguez May 21, 2020 James, you are absolutely right, thank you for pointing these errors out. The sestet in “Oh, what is prayer?” could now read: But sometimes silence follows all the din of many fears and questions and requests; and sometimes there is nothing in return, or yet at least it seems this way. Within the quake and hard unknowing fully rests desire yet: to seek, and burn, and yearn. Thank you again James for having eyes where I did not see! J. C. MacKenzie May 21, 2020 Reducing prayer to sighing, whispering, groaning, crying, etc., does not edify. The binary axes passion/emptiness, warmth/dryness, and the like, relate to the author’s real of fictive conflict which can only be tangential to the prayer in its essence. Whether the conflict is real or borrowed is immaterial—I have the same difficulty with John Donne’s pseudo-spiritual “problem.” Only Evangelicals, in my opinion, need to be “fanned” or “wound up” (to the point of shaking or quaking and such). Prayer is an application of the mind to the things of heaven. An act of the virtue of religion whose purpose is to render God the worship due to Him as the source of all being and the principle of all government of things. the constitutive parts of prayer are many and interesting, including the acknowledgement of one’s dependence on God. These poems are centered, unfortunately, on the subject. In consideration of the Church’s Sacred Doctrine on prayer, these verses lack dimension and substance, in my humble opinion. Reply Mike Bryant May 21, 2020 JCM, I prefer to let God decide which prayer is pleasing to Him. You may believe that you are the font of all knowledge when it comes to the Most High, but I assure you that you are NOT God Himself. Reply Julian D. Woodruff May 21, 2020 “My words fly up, my thoughts remain below …” is an observation about what is not prayer, but it is also a pertinent admission on the part of a dramatic character about himself. And, it should be added, it is not simply a matter of that character’s being more interesting than we because he is from WS’s mind. There must be plenty of profound prayers (Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross?) on the subject of the writer’s spiritual dryness. Reply Margaret Coats May 21, 2020 A thoughtful group of sonnets appearing at just the right time for those beginning the Novena to the Holy Spirit tomorrow. I will be back to consider them–especially the first–again. Reply Theresa Rodriguez May 21, 2020 I am glad they are meaningful to you, Margaret! Reply C.B. Anderson May 21, 2020 Theresa, I didn’t notice any missing feet; perhaps the corrections have already been made. And I loved the sentiments expressed in these sonnets. If Mr. MacKenzie is correct in his view that prayer has little or nothing to do with sentiment, even then, I, myself, am content to let God, Himself, sort things out. And, Mike Bryant, MacKenzie knows well that he is not God. That’s his entire point! If his position seems a bit less liberal than your own, then perhaps you are due for a self-inquisition. Reply Theresa Rodriguez May 22, 2020 C.B., I am so pleased that you loved the sentiments expressed in the sonnets! Thank you for your comments. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. 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