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misty wooded valley

Poem: Rainfall

Matthew Baker

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  • Virginia Shilliday

    This is an exquisite poem; I'd love to read more. Did he publish a book or chapbook of poetry?

I.

The rain enchants me with all its wild, foolish worship,
days when it is difficult to pray.
God is out there, up there, men say –
up there, or not at all: Heaven is a place
with a postbox, whose address we have lost.

But to regard the rainfall –
there is a pattern for our prayer
no Anglo-Saxon philanthropy
pledging help from its place, staying separate
from the slimy ditch, remaining sky-bound;

but each bead breaks off, is lost from its kind,
and descending, seeks the hollow deep,
mixing with low earthen things, becoming mud.

A young man came to Abba Sisoes, saying,
I see in myself that the remembrance of God
remains with me. But the elder replied,

It is no great thing that your thought should be with God.
But it is a great thing to consider yourself
lower than the whole of his creation.

II.

Praise to the Maker of the torrent
and the hurricane,
praise for the fierce humility of rain:

whose motion will not end, neither come to rest
nor ascend again until, like grace,
it finds the lowest empty place.

 


Sketch of Matthew Baker by Adam Wagner, courtesy of Katherine Baker.
Rain photograph by Christopher / Unsplash.

photo of misty trees
Contributed By sketch of poet Mathew Baker Matthew Baker

A lifelong student of literature, philosophy, and languages, Rhode Island native Matthew J. Baker dropped out of high school and got a job working nights at a gas station so he would have more time to read. This he did for seven years, going on to become a distinguished Orthodox Christian theologian with degrees from St. Tikhon’s Seminary, Holy Cross School of Theology, and Fordham University. Married and the father of six children, Baker was ordained to the priesthood of the Greek Orthodox Church in 2014. Only six weeks after being installed in his first parish, Holy Trinity Church of Norwich, Connecticut, he died in a snowstorm car accident on March 1, 2015. He was thirty-seven.

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