Perhaps it’s simply age that makes it hard To recognize the world as someplace where An inner spirit once itself declared, A spirit light, benevolently starred. Yet now it seems all spirit has been barred And lightness turned into the thinning air Of empty thought and souls too frail to bear The weight of anything but self-regard. But age has also taught, and taught me well, To recognize the scent of living hell, And though its sulfurs threaten to beset The present day, a faint bouquet unrolled At first in Eden wafts within us yet: The lilac breath of angels in our soul.
Song. On May (New York) Morning after Milton’s Song. On May Morning
Comes now a light too soft for garbage trucks
And somewhere off a car alarm that sucks
The stillness from the air, its morning cough
Propelling pigeons dustily aloft.
And yet it’s May, whose only noise
Is in the stems of flowers poised,
In cooing buds of yellow-green
And all of Nature’s sweet obscene.
And something in us hears it, good and true,
But first we have a million things to do.
Jeffrey's poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, print and online, among them Dappled Things, America Magazine, the St. Austin Review, U.S. Catholic, Pensive, the Society of Classical Poets, and various venues of the Benedictine monastery where he serves as an oblate. He is also editor of the Catholic Poetry Room page on the Integrated Catholic Life website.