Graces and Laments

“Graces and Laments” is a series of short poems written in response to passages of the Gospel of John. The poems are brief, relatively quickly written, not overworked, and responsive not only to the verses in question but (usually) to something concrete in my immediate environment or experience. You might say that my goal is to listen for resonances of the day’s reading in the world; John is so other-worldly that I feel, frankly, his Gospel needs a bit of grounding. (It’s also in the vein of what I used to call “cheap poetry.”).

The series began a few years ago as a Lenten discipline, writing in response to the Daily Office readings in the Book of Common Prayer, and though I didn’t make it very far — sometimes it just takes a few days for something to click — I’ve picked up the project again in succeeding years. At this point, it’s an occasional series with sporadic bursts of activity, and I make no promises as to whether it will ever be finished. I may revise them later. In the meantime, I’ll post them here as I write them.

I do, however, have a plan, based on the Book of Common Prayer’s division of John’s Gospel into daily readings. A “complete” series for that purpose would require fifty-six poems, but that leaves out the Passion, the Resurrection, and everything after. I’ll worry about what to do with the rest when I get the first fifty-six written.

You can read them all in the reverse of the order I posted them, or use this index of readings and poems, with (where applicable) their place in the Daily Office lectionary. (The numbers in parentheses refer to the year of the two-year Daily Office cycle.)

Verses Daily Office Poem
1:1-18 Last Epiphany M (1) 1. Snowfall at night
1:19-28 Last Epiphany T (1) 2. The jay
1:29-34 Last Epiphany Th (1) 3. Sunset, magnified
1:35-42 Last Epiphany F (1) 4. Love me like a rock
1:43-51 Last Epiphany S (1) 5. Anticipation
2:1-12 1 Lent M (1) 6. Pearls before swine
2:13-22 1 Lent T (1) 7. Ruminations
2:23-3:15 1 Lent W (1) 8. Where it wills
3:16-21 1 Lent Th (1) 9. Hair of the dog
3:22-36 1 Lent F (1) 10. Snow day
4:1-26 1 Lent S (1) 11. Overflowing
4:27-42 2 Lent M (1) 12. Eagerly awaiting
4:43-54 2 Lent T (1) 13. Signs and wonders
5:1-18 2 Lent W (1) 14. Ever after
5:19-29 2 Lent Th (1) 15. What the snow reveals
5:30-47 2 Lent F (1) 16. Testimony of the groceries
6:1-15 4 Lent M (1) 17. The veil of abundance
6:[15,]16-27 4 Lent T (1) 18. Morningsong
6:[26,]27-40 4 Lent W (1) 19. Day preppers
6:41-51 4 Lent Th (1) 20. It is written
6:52-59 4 Lent F (1) 21. Flesh and food
6:60-71 4 Lent S (1) 22. For Toby, in apology
7:1-13 2 Lent S (1) 23. Unnoticed
7:14-36 3 Lent M (1) 24. The cat
7:37-52 3 Lent T (1) 25. On the doorstep
7:53–8:11  26. Even the ‘e’ is silent
8:12-20 3 Lent W (1) 27. In the alley
8:21-32 3 Lent Th (1) 28. A worm and no man
8:33-47 3 Lent F (1) 29. Silence (the paradox)
8:47-59 3 Lent S (1) 30. The river
9:1-17 5 Lent M 31. Room 304
9:18-41 5 Lent T (1) 32. What remains unseen
10:1-18 5 Lent W (1) 33. Homeward
10:19-30 5 Lent Th (1), 6 Epiphany Th (1) 34. Lost and found
10:31-42 5 Lent Th (1), 6 Epiphany F (1)
11:1-18 5 Lent F (1), Proper 17 S (2)
11:20-27 5 Lent F (1), Proper 18 M (2)
11:28-44 5 Lent S (1)
11:45-54 Proper 18 S (2)
11:55-12:8 Proper 19 M (2)
12:9-19 Holy Week M (1)
12:20-26 Holy Week T (1)
12:27-36 Holy Week W (1)
12:37-50 8 Epiphany T (2)
13:1-20 8 Epiphany W (2)
13:21-30 8 Epiphany Th (2)
13:31-35 8 Epiphany F (2)
13:36-38 Good Friday (1)
14:1-14 1 Easter M (1)
14:15-31 1 Easter T (1)
15:1-11 1 Easter W (1)
15:12-27 1 Easter Th (1)
16:1-15 1 Easter F (1)
16:16-33 1 Easter S (1)
17:1-11 2 Easter M (1)
17:12-19 2 Easter T (1)
17:20-26 2 Easter W (1)