Small Prayer

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by Barbara Crooker

Barbara Crooker is the author of six books of poetry, as well as the forthcoming volumes Les Fauves (C&R Press, 2017) and The Book of Kells (Cascade Books, 2019). Her writing has received a number of awards, including the W. B. Yeats Society of New York Award in 2004 and the Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award in 2003, along with three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships. She was recently in residence at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Ireland, late October, and first frost settles on the lawn.
Yesterday, the gardener on his tractor mowed
in concentric circles, a Celtic knot at the center
of his design. Now in the grooves, ice crystals
have set off the pattern, illuminated it as surely
as monks in their cells. Up from the lake,
a fairy mist rises, and whooper swans bugle up
the dawn, which has flushed the clouds pink and gold.
On this new day, may I walk out singing, open
to what’s never happened before. Let me be grateful.
Let me pay attention. And then when evening
closes the shutters, may I sail through the night
on the back of a swan.