James M. Keegan

It is no matter that you were carrying the heirloom platter
and five silver forks for cheesecake later on.

It is of little concern your cigarette took the opportunity
to burn its brown face into your acrid rug.

On a clear morning where the dawn sun
   will slash the straight line of ocean,
you may or may not see the green flash on the horizon.
You may not see it.
So much hangs upon
the quality of your attention.

So much depends upon
the multiple mind to remain faithful to the waves
of gleaming silverware, the dancing cigarette:
too much for the brain to absorb,
   absent the pleasures of dopamine.

Fear, that night crawler,
whose descent into your shoes while you sleep,
whose precise leap from an overhead branch,
whose starring season in the Garden story
takes down reason,
breaks down communication nerve to muscle
snakes down through your darkest treasures
   to a common vault of shame.

O God, come to my assistance.
O Lord, make haste to help me.

James M. Keegan, S.J., has been a spiritual director and has trained directors in Cambridge, Mass., as well as in Canada, Europe and Asia. This poem is from the author’s collection, Parkinson’s: A Work in Progress.

Comments

R DOUGHERTY | 8/5/2012 - 2:32pm
As one having been diagnosed with Parkinson's about a year ago the poem sharpened my awareness of my own expereince and allowed me to own it more courageously. At the same time, it has opened me to a new expression of prayer.
Thank you, Jim, for continueing to share yourself so generously with other.

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