These many endless days


You know that heart-aching feeling of nostalgia? That unreserved longing to return to what once was, even for a moment? Yesterday, I sat with an old, dear friend on a park bench in New York, my former home. It was a home that deeply delighted me, that stirred my imagination and grew my heart in love for humanity and awakened a new dependence in me for God’s continuous grace. And this friend and I sat reminiscing about times gone by, about turning points in our lives of faith and moments that stretched us like never before. About travels and travails and times of great pain.


There’s something profound in the passing of time. I have memories so vivid and so close to my heart that I can recall them in an instant, remembering the slightest details, returning easily to former joy. It’s moments of entering into eternity that I hold closest. Like walking the many miles across Krakow to the evening vigil with Pope Francis during World Youth Day. Like sitting on the steps of St. Peter’s in Rome at sunset. Like lying in the grass of a Parisian park with a friend as we read and wrote and dozed. These were moments of sheer bliss, of tasting the sweetness of heaven.


And it was in that Parisian park, a year and a half ago, that I wrote a poem. I’m not much of a poet, but as I’ve vowed to write more poetry in the months ahead, I figured it may help to revisit it. As I perused my drafts folder of my blog, I stumbled across this half-written post, remembering that I never thought I'd share it, largely out of fear. But I’d rather not live a life of fear. So, here it is: my poem of love and nostalgia and eternity.


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These many endless days


Oh, love. What a place of love this is.

My heart needs no encouragement on that front.

To be swimming, swimming, in the moment is my delight.

With the clink of picnic bottles, the long grass beneath my legs so worn,

the heat having claimed my veins, compelling me to stillness, to slowness.

I notice the little shirtless one, in a moment of carelessness I know,

let slip his treasured ball from his clutches.

His elder sister’s reprimands know no bounds,

and she banishes him to the impossible hill to retrieve it.

My friend departs to aid in the hunt, and I am left alone.

Alone – really alone, my thoughts are mine, I need not converse.

Only take in, observe, rest.

A perfect rest I’ve missed these many endless days.

The aloneness ends, as do the days.

And here I am, this final day in this place of eternity.

With my tickets and trinkets and photos to prove,

but mostly that feeling, that sense, of what life has been here.

The streets dripping with gilded light till late

as the productive sun makes its last stroke along the Seine.

And the picnickers and lovers and tourists alike linger, holding that sense of forever.

It is not to be held.


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