Grace does not charm

9 Apr

Flowers and birds

woods and furry beasts 

inhabit my world 

at second hand—

in zoos and public gardens.

My world has been 

the city

houses next to each other

you can reach

from wall to wall.

Towers so tall

they pierce the clouds

and obscure 

the night time’s 


Whitman’s people—

progeny of cobalt black 

slave China girl mestizo 

pale white men like me

blue blood and low brow. 

Without the mix my world 

does not exist.

I never knew the road less traveled 

but streetcar tracks

trolley buses 

twenty-four hour streets.

I seldom tramped

through fern and bush—

milked a cow and 

gathered eggs

only as a tourist 

on my uncle’s farm.

My tropes come 

from different corners 

of the world—

without the charm

no cuddling lure.

But grace 

is no stranger 

in my city—

on skid row 

in a panhandler’s face 

a screeching ambulance 

an anxious ER waiting room

even an

alfresco cafe.

Grace does not charm.

It does not cuddle.

Gritty like the city

it liberates.

(c) Phil Hefner   4/9/2019

3 Responses to “Grace does not charm”

  1. Larry Foster April 18, 2019 at 12:22 am #

    Professor Phil,

    Recently at the ELCA Natural Systems Academy where I serve as Curriculum and Development Coordinator, Professor John Haught presented his work on Christianity and Science. I asked him if he knew you. He responded with enthusiasm calling you a friend. Your books and his have been a rich source activating the neurons. Your courses back when the new “set on pillars” seminary opened were formative and lasting for this now retired parish pastor. It would be enjoyable to cross your path once again and discuss theology and the science of human behavior. Thank you for who you are and what you do. Grace does not charm while freeing up.

    Larry Foster, LSTC class of 1969

    • Liftthescreen April 18, 2019 at 1:44 am #

      Good to hear from you, Larry. Yes Jack Haught and I had good times together. I hope your retire is proving to be satisfying. Phil

      • Larry Foster April 18, 2019 at 1:57 am #

        Thanks for your good wishes. I’m a little young yet at 81 but am trying to come up with a good definition of retirement. Good wishes to your. Larry

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