I just got a boxload of books (the day 42 freshman essays came in, too . . . how unfair is that!). I can only afford the time to glance through one in the next few days, so I chose poet Scott Cairns' Philokalia. The first poem I chanced across took my breath.
"Possible Answers to Prayer"
Your petitions -- though they continue to bear
just the one signature -- have been duly recorded.
Your anxieties -- despite their constant,
relatively narrow scope and inadvertent
entertainment value -- nonetheless serve
to bring your person vividly to mind.
Your repentence -- all but obscured beneath
a burgeoning, yellow fog of frankly more
conspicuous resentment -- is sufficient.
Your intermittent concern for the sick,
the suffering, the needy poor is sometimes
recognizable to me, if not to them.
Your angers, your zeal, your lipsmackingly
righteous indignation toward the many
whose habits and sympathies offend you --
these must burn away before you'll apprehend
how near I am, with what fervor I adore
precisely these, the several who rouse your passions.
All I can say: Lord, help me.