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doorway into dark cellar

Poem: Little Religion

Christian Wiman

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Excerpts from Aurelius Ambrosius and Basil the Great taken from Charles Avila, Ownership: Early Christian Teaching (Orbis, 1983).

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His little religion
of common things
uncommonly loved
served him well.
Especially in Hell.

*

When the sickbed sunlight
banishes shadows
like the noontime tin
of the storm cellar door
long, long before,
he is the blaze
it takes a man to raise,
he is the stone-
stepped dark a child
goes feelingly down.

*

As if to be
were to be
by oblivion
given
and forgiven
heaven.

 

 

This poem appears in Christian Wiman’s collection Once in the West (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014). Photo: courtesy of Ken Childress.

 

sunlight in dark hallway
Contributed By photo of Christian Wiman Christian Wiman

Christian Wiman is a distinguished American poet and former editor of Poetry magazine. His poems and essays often reflect themes of doubt and faith. A cancer diagnosis has profoundly influenced his recent work.

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