With Folded Hands

Faith came much easier when I was young.
I believed in Purgatory.
That half-way house you might need
before your final reward.
I’d say three Hail Marys for the one lucky soul
who needed exactly that many words
to move out and ascend to heaven.
My lips moved silently,
hands folded, head bowed, like I learned
in Immaculate Conception Grade School.
Then I’d say a very loud Amen and grin.
Good deed done for the day!
These days, as a septuagenarian,
I realize that for some people
hell is right here on earth.
Hail Marys don’t seem to cut it
when a Black man gets shot in the back
while innocently jogging down a street.
I don’t grin anymore
at the end of my prayers.

Shared with dVerse today, the virtual pub for poets around the globe.

Today is OLN LIVE from 3 to 4 PM and OLN. I’m hosting today….so hope to see many folks there. Photo is my hands this morning.

28 thoughts on “With Folded Hands

  1. Nancy Jahnke October 13, 2022 / 1:24 pm

    Poignant reflection, Lill! Touched me…

    Sent from my iPhone



    • lillian October 13, 2022 / 2:52 pm

      Thank you, Nancy! So nice to see you here…..and hope you are recovering and feeling good!


  2. forestbather October 13, 2022 / 3:48 pm

    This is a kind of poetry I really enjoy very much, that I personally call “protest poetry.

    Wonderful, in rhythm, tone, subject…very much.


    • lillian October 13, 2022 / 4:24 pm

      Thank you! I truly appreciate a response like this from you….thank you! And please, take care.


  3. Gillena Cox October 13, 2022 / 4:35 pm

    We grow. We mature. We must though keep faith alive.

    I truly enjoyed hearing you read this poem today



  4. Tricia Sankey October 13, 2022 / 5:29 pm

    Those folded hands stick with me, I feel the grip! ❤️🙏❤️


  5. sanaarizvi October 13, 2022 / 5:37 pm

    This is so poignant, Lillian! I literally had goosebumps while hearing you read this aloud tonight! Thank you so much for hosting us! It was lovely! ❤❤


  6. rothpoetry October 13, 2022 / 5:57 pm

    A great poem of revelation as we become adults. It was great to hear you read it on the live zoom today. Much of what we are taught as children gets tested as we become adults.


  7. Ali Grimshaw October 13, 2022 / 7:33 pm

    This is a powerful poem. Your personal details about prayer throughout your years of living make it come alive. This is the line that resonated with me most though,
    “Hail Marys don’t seem to cut it
    when a Black man gets shot in the back
    while innocently jogging down a street.”
    Agreed. It breaks my heart that this is still happening.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 14, 2022 / 9:04 am

      Thank you for your comment here, Ali. I do think there was a moment in time, when the world understood racism for what it is….George Floyd’s death did that. Sadly, it seems it was only a moment in time. I can’t imagine the conversations a Black mother and father have to have with their sons…about what to do if you’re stopped by a policeman in your car for example. That this is still happening…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ali Grimshaw October 14, 2022 / 11:25 am

        Your poem is a great way to bring this sad reality to the conciousness of others.


  8. Madaket Muse October 13, 2022 / 8:32 pm

    We are clearly on the same wavelength. I don’t love what is happening in the world, but I love the voice you have given these times. Nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Truedessa October 13, 2022 / 8:42 pm

    The world is not the same I think we need more than a few Hail Mary’s to save us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 14, 2022 / 9:06 am

      Amen to that. An entire paradigm shift is needed.


  10. kaykuala October 13, 2022 / 8:49 pm

    A grim close, Lillian where even prayers may be hard to save innocent souls from those with hate in their heart!


    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 14, 2022 / 9:06 am

      Exactly. I don’t understand the hate. Never have. But it sure is there.


  11. sdtp33 October 13, 2022 / 8:50 pm

    ah yes, purgatory and limbo, heaven and hell, immaculate conceptions….the elements of a Catholic education…a powerful poem, you are right, we don’t have to look too far to locate hell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 14, 2022 / 9:07 am

      And a Catholic education in the late 1950s and early 1960s. When we received holy cards as prizes if we won the week’s spelling bee!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Sunra Rainz October 14, 2022 / 7:26 pm

    Very poignant, Lillian. You brought me down to earth with a bump with those final two lines. I like how the mood changes throughout 🙂


  13. paeansunplugged October 17, 2022 / 2:43 pm

    Sadly, not much to grin about these days and I wonder if prayers are being heard
    Very powerful, very poignant write, Lillian.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s