Making the House Ready for the Lord

Dear Lord, I have swept and I have washed but
still nothing is as shining as it should be
for you. Under the sink, for example, is an
uproar of mice it is the season of their
many children. What shall I do? And under the eaves
and through the walls the squirrels
have gnawed their ragged entrances but it is the season
when they need shelter, so what shall I do? And
the raccoon limps into the kitchen and opens the cupboard
while the dog snores, the cat hugs the pillow;
what shall I do? Beautiful is the new snow falling
in the yard and the fox who is staring boldly
up the path, to the door. And still I believe you will
come, Lord: you will, when I speak to the fox,
the sparrow, the lost dog, the shivering sea-goose, know
that really I am speaking to you whenever I say,
as I do all morning and afternoon: Come in, Come in.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
13 years 11 months ago
Twice now during the past week, a squirrel has eaten away parts of my windowsill and gnawed four-inch holes in the screen to facilitate its entry to my house.

Yes, I have read with appreciation Mary Oliver’s poem “Making the House Ready for the Lord” (9/25). “Come in, come in,” she says to animals seeking shelter as winter dawns on a snowy world.

And what is my response? Unlike the poet, I have for God’s creatures who live out there in my yard a lesser and imperfect love that stops upon my doorstep. Beyond that boundary I offer a crust of last night’s pizza, nuts and suet, apples, whole wheat bread crumbs. To these you are welcome. Help yourself, I say, but keep your distance. This house is mine. For the limits to my hospitality, may the Lord forgive me.

And another thing: Stop digging up my daffodils.

13 years 11 months ago
Twice now during the past week, a squirrel has eaten away parts of my windowsill and gnawed four-inch holes in the screen to facilitate its entry to my house.

Yes, I have read with appreciation Mary Oliver’s poem “Making the House Ready for the Lord” (9/25). “Come in, come in,” she says to animals seeking shelter as winter dawns on a snowy world.

And what is my response? Unlike the poet, I have for God’s creatures who live out there in my yard a lesser and imperfect love that stops upon my doorstep. Beyond that boundary I offer a crust of last night’s pizza, nuts and suet, apples, whole wheat bread crumbs. To these you are welcome. Help yourself, I say, but keep your distance. This house is mine. For the limits to my hospitality, may the Lord forgive me.

And another thing: Stop digging up my daffodils.

The latest from america

Police tape borders a crime scene in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, in January 2018. (CNS photo/Jose Luis Gonzales, Reuters)
In Mexico, where both organized and petty crime has exploded to unprecedented levels, vigilante justice has become increasingly common; citizens who gun down assailants during robbery attempts often make headlines as heroes.
Jan-Albert HootsenOctober 21, 2020
In a new documentary that premiered in Rome today, Pope Francis says separating migrant children from their parents is “something a Christian cannot do. It’s cruelty of the highest form.”
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 21, 2020
In a new documentary that premiered in Rome today, Pope Francis reiterated his support for civil unions for same-sex couples and slammed the Trump administration’s family separation policy.
Inside the VaticanOctober 21, 2020
Gay couples deserve legal protections for their relationships, Pope Francis said in a new documentary.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 21, 2020