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Mary Lou Cornish

About this Christian Poet:
I am a journalist and a teacher of writing. A life-long lover of poetry, I have been writing verse since my teens. But I am a closet poet, sharing little of my work, mostly out of fear that no one will like it! This is the first poem I have had published professionally.

I went through a period in which I suffered loss after loss. I kept asking God why. This poem stems from that.

This poem won the 2004 Word Guild prize for poetry.

If This World Hung From Some Other God's Arm

If this world hung from some other god's arm,
Would my dreams have been shovelled so readily
Into a disinterested grave?
Would I be more than a mourner
Hunched and howling at its bleak mouth,
Protesting, "No! Don't bury them!
Stillbirths and miscarriages they may be,
But they're mine and I cannot let them go!"

But you ask me, Lord,
Not demand or insist or force,
But gently ask
That I throw the first handful of dirt.

It cakes and clumps and clings to my hand,
Resists and rebels until I stand
Fists fisted, heart hardened, eyes on the strands
Of what-might-have-been-and-never-will-be-agains—
My God, my God! Will I ever understand?

Then a Gethsemane grasps me and whispers in my ear.
Not my will, Father, not my will, Father, not my—
Sobbing, I fling the sod, scattering it violently over the lost.

Grieving still, I ask you, not kindly,
"With what will you fill these dirty hands?"
And when you respond softly, "With me," I tremble,
Because I am so afraid that I will drop you,
Momentarily forgetting that it is you who carry me.

Copyright©2003 by Mary Lou Cornish