The Face of Christ (by Daniel Berrigan, S.J.)
The tragic beauty of the face of Christ shines in our faces;
the abandoned old live on
in shabby rooms, far from comfort.
din and purpose, the world, a fiery animal
reined in by youth. Within
a pallid tiring heart
shuffles about its dwelling.
Nothing, so little, comes of life’s promise.
Of broken, despised minds
what does one make
a roadside show, a graveyard of the heart?
Christ, fowler of street and hedgerow
cripples, the distempered old
-eyes blind as woodknots,
tongues tight as immigrants’-all
taken in His gospel net,
the hue and cry of existence.
Heaven, of such imperfection
wary, ravaged, wild?
Yes. Compel them in.
(excerpted from And the Risen Bread, Selected poems 1957-1997)
(Father Berrigan is Fordham’s poet-in-residence.)