Monday, June 7, 2010

On Prayer II

[Note: This poem appeared in the June/July 2004 edition of "The Other Side", a magazine which is no longer published. ]

On Prayer II

Some prayers are like spears.  They carry the whole weight
of the body behind them but they do not travel far.

Some prayers are like arrows flying light
and far and fast but they are never seen again.

Some prayers are like snares scattered in the woods,
ingenious and cunning -- but who knows what they will catch?

No.  You cannot bring down the Holy One with prayer.  He
is not caught in your traps.  Listen -- you are yourself the hunted.

Your prayer is the sudden stillness on the path,
the in-drawn breath, the pounding heart as you scent the wind.

Have you learned this?  Do you know?
You do not seek so much as you are sought.

You cannot pursue the Holy One -- or if you do,
it is only as the fish in the net pursues the fisherman.

- Robert Hudson
[Update: here is some more information about Robert Hudson.]


  1. I think so too, Antoine.

    I like the poem a lot - it turns around my conception of "prayer", so that I'm in a different place. A more "active-passive" place (for lack of a better way to describing it). I suspect that this place approaches something of what Jesus and Gandhi meant by "nonviolence".

  2. I'd feel better about this whole "fish" "net" thing if I could see/feel the net or the fisherman.

  3. Very nicely done. Do not falter. Your work in these regards is greatly appreciated.

  4. Yeah, I know what you mean, manaus. Pretty dark, isn't it? I get a lot of encouragement from the Cloud (of Unknowing), though.

    Thanks, Gerry.

  5. This reminds me that the very act of living is worship, or at least should be. To walk along your day in awe and wonder of the Great Spirit, much like the topics I discuss on my own website. I invite you to check it out. Thank you for the insights and the gentle reminder.

  6. CosmoPrince - also kind of reminds me of the Heschel saying, "just to live is holy". Thanks for stopping by. I'll check out your site.

  7. You're welcome, Michelle. THanks for stopping by!

  8. Good... very good. I needed to see this tonight. Thank God for the grace of such timing.

  9. I know what you mean, Fran ... This timing thing seems to happen more often than not, maybe all the time!


From Dorothy Day’s editorial in the Catholic Worker on the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.