Litany: Billy Collins

Litany by Billy Collins

You are the bread and the knife,

The crystal goblet and the wine…

~Jacues Crickillon


You are the bread and the knife,

the crystal goblet and the wine,

You are the dew on the morning grass

and the burning wheel of the sun.

You are the white apron of the baker,

and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.


However, you are not the wind in the orchard,

the plums on the counter,

or the houses of cards.

And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.


It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,

maybe even the pigeon on the general’s head,

but you are not even close

to being a field of cornflowers at dusk.


And a quick look in the mirror will show

that you are neither the boots in the corner

nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.


It might interest you to know,

speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,

that I am the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.


I am also the moon in the trees

and the blind woman’s tea cup.

But don’t worry, I’m not the bread and the knife.

You are still the bread and the knife,

not to mention the crystal goblet and – somehow – the wine.

Found a quote about Fortitude

asl love hands

(artist and source on the internet unknown. Please leave a comment with information if you know who did this awesome work.)

I just came back from breakfast with a new friend.

I am so thankful to be settling in even further into our new community.

We mostly talked about trying to get into shape so that we can enjoy our respective jobs for as long as possible. Somehow the topic of forgiveness came up though, and I just now found this quote that I had jotted in my “get healthy” journal:

“You will always be
the bread

the knife,

not to mention the crystal



the wine.”

(by poet Billy Collins.

I made the line breaks up myself – something that is a big no, no in the world of poetry…but in the interest of time…there you go.

p.s. I think when I did research on the poem a while ago I found out that he wrote it either because of a painful divorce, or to make fun of sappy break up poetry that is not good literature. I can’t remember which and my son is currently banging a basketball against the wall, so I’d better not dilly dally at the keyboard.

Why Mr. Collins wrote it and what it meant to him at the time does matter… but I like it today because it reminds me of communion and Catholic prayers about the Communion of the Saints.

And I like cheese, and I like wine.)

St. Anthony Prayer for Grace when life becomes quite noisy

Prayer for Help from the Holy Spirit

O God, send forth your Holy Spirit into my heart that I may perceive,

into my mind that I may remember,


and into my soul that I may meditate. Inspire me to speak with piety, holiness,

tenderness and mercy.

Teach, guide and

direct my thoughts and senses from beginning to end.

May your grace ever help and correct me,

and may I be strengthened now with wisdom from on high, for the sake of your infinite mercy.     Amen.

~Saint Anthony of Padua

Isn’t that a lovely prayer? I found it just now while looking for another that a friend has been using to pray for me. I sent a text to her last week saying something to the effect of:

“having 87a*^& difficult time transition men all back to school. no sleep. bloody internet down again. pray asap plz.”

Her reply was something to the effect of:

“On our way to family conference. Issuing Deliverance Prayer immediately and will continue to take all to Jesus.”

This particular best friend of mine was raised by a huge Irish Catholic family on the capes in New Jersey, and continues to worship in a similar traditional Irish fashion.

Selfishly, this reality has many benefits for me.

My mom was also raised in a large Irish Catholic family, but in the Bronx. This makes my brother and I fourth generation straight off the boats of County Cork – I did the research and it’s true! I even found immigration papers. Every single one of our great-grandparents  came from County Cork,  (“counties” in Ireland are like “states” here in the U.S.) by way of a village named Mill Street.

The friend that I sent a text plea to continues to help describe to me how my mother was raised. By way of these memorized prayers and traditional Catholic rituals I can know much about corners of my family world that my mother, by necessity, had to set clear boundaries against when leaving the east coast to join my father.

My friend and I met while doing graduate work toward a degree in Pastoral Ministry at the University Dayton and it was one of those best friends in five minutes type of gifts that one gets only a few times in a life time. By hook or crook we’ve maintained this friendship for well over twenty years now, if not in conversation and visits, by way of prayer amidst our busy and increasingly complicated lives as moms and spouses.


Since I rarely ask for help like in that text, particularly for specific prayer, she knew, I’m guessing, that I really meant that I was too pooped to pray.

Asking this gal pal to take a knee is a bit like asking that fellow Bolt to run to the store for milk – it happens fast, furious and with more focus than my hard wire would ever hope to achieve without distraction.

And, it worked.

The clogs of stress about the first week of school for my men seem to be starting to give way for now.

And, oddly enough, last night I switched a plug and suddenly the computer and internet are working, saving us anywhere from a range of $100 to $800 to keep me on the grid.

This is good.

Grand as a matter of fact.

How do you like the photo of my low alto voice being formed in utero while my brother listens to, I’d say, Ella Fitzgerald or The Weavers?

Last Minute Sign Language Photos, and a Link to My Girl Natalie

No more A-Z blogging for April 2012! Sun’s up, day is rolling and darn fast, and May is here.

I came in at the last minute with my last three letters of the alphabet and was too tired to find some sign language examples from the alphabet…so, I’m throwing ’em in here, and adding a link to a song that I’m adding to a prayer CD that I’m making for a grieving friend…

See you next year Blogging A-Z!


“v” for victory at last! The challenge is done.
this is a “w” in sign language – try it – it feels good to stretch those piggies.
go ahead…scrunch that inde *X*
“Y” ? Because I said so darn it!
That index in the air, and you have done the whole alphabet – good job!


click here for a link to a youtube slide show of the best Easter song of all,

King of May by Natalie Merchant….


Happy Easter Everyone…honest…