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Issue Date:  December 28, 2007



What is being born in the manger
   of our hearts,
What longs to emerge
   into the light?

A poor and precious bundle
   naked, tender truth

Soft as a child’s flesh,
Sharp as the sword that pierces
   every mother’s heart; --

Truth that cuts through
   -- tenderly,
      oh tenderly --

The vast and vile darkness
   revealing to us who wait

   the healing light
      of dawn.

-- Mary Anne Perrone
   Ann Arbor, Mich.

The Apple

The apple you brought in,
   purple as a plum,
sits alone in the blue blowl
   in a sacred way
as if it were an offering
   to the too many
religious books, scriptures,
   and ancient prayers
on my shelves.

The money you left
   on the table, your half
you said, for last night’s meal
   now seems an offering
to the carved duck
   and the glass fish,
little saints of the river,
   virgins and martyrs.

Your absence is half-presence.
   What I’ve been too shy to say
comes easily now:
   You calm me more
than meditation can.
   What peace monks yearn for,
you have in you.

I never knew it could be
   this way:
caring so much
   about loving better
that I laugh
   at my precious books
and reach for the apple to eat.

-- Jim Littwin
   Barrington, Ill.

Note to poets: Short lines preferred. Poetry is published in a newspaper column only 35 characters wide, counting punctuation and spaces. Submit poems to Poetry, NCR, PO Box 411009, Kansas City MO 64141-1009, or e-mail at poetry@ncronline.org.

National Catholic Reporter, December 28, 2007

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