Monday, September 23, 2019

Angela Alaimo O’Donnell

Angela Alaimo O’Donnell teaches English, Creative Writing and American Catholic Studies at Fordham University in New York City. She is the author of two chapbooks, and five full-length poetry books — most-recently Still Pilgrim (2017, Paraclete Press). Her memoir, Mortal Blessings (2014) won first place, for its category, in the Catholic Press Association Awards.

She has been significantly inspired by Flannery O’Connor, having written two books about her: Flannery O’Connor: Fiction Fired by Faith (2015), and The Province of Joy: Praying with Flannery O’Connor (2012). This is re-emphasized by the epigraph to the poem in this post. This poem is from her new book, and first appeared in Christian Century.

The Still Pilgrim Considers a Hard Teaching

“If you believe in the divinity of Christ, you have to cherish
the world at the same time that you struggle to endure it.”
—Flannery O’Connor

Not just love but cherish it, this world—
from the Latin, carus, to the French, cher—
meaning dear, meaning costly, beloved—
meaning hold to your heart, handle with care,
this world, from Old English, weoruld,
meaning human race, meaning age of man,
this world, meaning our earth and her heirs,
meaning all of us, here, now, if you can—
the suicide bomber, the killer cop,
the war-worn refugee at the door,
the racist, the rapist, the shooter and shot,
the filthy rich and the dirty poor—
this world, ever ancient and ever new,
not just love it, but act like you do.

Posted with permission of the poet.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection is Ampersand (2018, Cascade). His books are available through Amazon, and Wipf & Stock, including the anthologies The Turning Aside, and Adam, Eve, & the Riders of the Apocalypse.