Mennonite Poetry Home | Robert Martens




i don't write poetry
on sunday afternoon. i don't
pray over our valley of sorrows
on sunday afternoon.
i don't plough fields, or
build barns, or
milk cows on
sunday afternoon. this
was taught by old
mothers and fathers:
do not
on sunday afternoon.
nothing matters
on sunday afternoon. the
week so long,
centuries of grief,
a dark and homeless people
and loved ones taken, but
on sunday afternoon.
time for rest.
mittagschlaf: afternoon sleep
like a gentle wrestler,
you stagger to the nearest
couch, your shoes thud
on the floor, your
breathing warm and deep
as furrowed earth,
and tired bones nearly
dead with pleasure.

i'm writing these words
on the anxious blank page
of the weekday. it's
raining hard, but i avoid
the comfort of the fire,
drink strong coffee, i
need to stay awake.
work hard, sunday afternoon
is close at hand. i don't
download dirty tricks
on sunday afternoon, or
pace the syringe streets,
or slip down the spine of the freeway.
i don't read poetry
on sunday afternoon,
the poem is complete.
on the seventh day
he slept. in his
dreaming soul, it is always
sunday afternoon,
he may never awake, he
shifts in his sleep,
a voice reaches out and
soothes his tangled hair,
peace, little ones,
the days of work
are nearly done.

© Robert Martens




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