The National Catholic Review

Above the bluebleak priest the brightblue fisher hovers.
The priest notes the book upon the table, the lamp beside the book.
A towering Babel of papers still to grade, and that faraway look
as once more the mind begins to wander. Ah, to creep beneath the covers

of the belled bed beckoning across the room. He stops, recovers,
takes another sip of bitter tea, then winces as he takes another look
at the questions he has posed his students and the twists they took
to cover up their benighted sense of Latin. The fisher hovers

like a lit match closer to him. The windows have all been shut against
the damp black Dublin night. After all these years, his collar chokes
him still, in spite of which he wears it like some outmoded mark
of honor, remembering how his dear Ignatius must have sensed
the same landlocked frustrations. Again he lifts his pen. His strokes
lash out against the dragon din of error. The fisher incandesces in the dark.

Paul Mariani holds a chair in English at Boston College. His new book of poems, Deaths & Transfigurations, will be published by Paraclete Press next summer and his biography of Hopkins by Viking Press. The Rev. William Hart McNichols, an iconographer, lives in New Mexico.  

Recently by Paul Mariani

Operating Room, Upper East Side, March 1945 (March 12, 2012)
Mantra for a Dark December Night (December 24, 2007)
The Fathers (December 18, 2006)
History and Language (January 30, 2006)
The Stone Not Cut by Hand (January 2, 2006)

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