Midrash by Jay Parini


Jay Parini

I think it was Voltaire who said
the arguments for God’s existence
hardly add a thing to what
we know so well already.
We have walked in cornfields in midsummer,
seen the world aflame around us
gleaming as it greenly must.
Even in winter there was light enough
to satisfy our need
for reassurance. God is
everywhere in wild abundance.
He is soft but clear at sundown
on the dark blue edge of sleep,
and speaking in a voice we often know.
It breaks within us and begins to flow.
He waves from every single terrace
in the lively town and in your face
throughout the day,
all nods and calls and hailing cries.
He wants us to believe in almost everything
we see and hear. Why not? I ask you.
And he wants our fingers on the only skin
we need to touch, our tongue
on every morsel. He would have us
breathe a long slow breath,
then ask for something like release
into that larger choir where we become
a voice forever, with our fiery tongue,
our winks and nods: blessed assurance
in the way, with winds, we drift and dance.

About the Author

Jay Parini is a distinguished poet, novelist, biographer, and critic. His books of poetry include The Art of Subtraction: New and Selected Poems, and he has written volumes of essays and critical studies, as well as biographies of John Steinbeck, Robert Frost, and William Faulkner. His novels include Benjamin’s Crossing, The Apprentice Lover, The Passages of H.M., and The Last Station, which was turned into an Academy Award-nominated film starring Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer, and Paul Giamatti. His forthcoming books include Jesus: The Human Face of God, and the novel, Galliano’s Ghost.