Appleton, WI

May 10: Day by Day with Father Bill


There is a gold light in certain old paintings by Donald Justice
There is a gold light in certain old paintings
That represents a diffusion of sunlight.
It is like happiness, when we are happy.
It comes from everywhere and from nowhere at once, this light,          
     And the poor soldiers sprawled at the foot of the cross         
     Share in its charity equally with the cross.

Orpheus* hesitated beside the black river.
With so much to look forward to he looked back.
We think he sang then, but the song is lost.
At least he had seen once more the beloved back.         
     I say the song went this way: O prolong         
     Now the sorrow if that is all there is to prolong.

The world is very dusty, uncle. Let us work.
One day the sickness shall pass from the earth for good
The orchard will bloom; someone will play the guitar.
Our work will be seen as strong and clean and good.         
     And all that we suffered through having existed         
     Shall be forgotten as though it never existed.

*Orpheus was a poet, musician and prophet in Greek mythology. He lost his wife, Eurydice, in a terrible tragedy and attempted to rescue her from the watery Underworld but was unsuccessful because he looked back.