Patrick Cabello Hansel
Patrick Cabello Hansel is the author of two poetry collections: The Devouring Land (Main Street Rag Publishing) and Quitting Time (Atmosphere Press). He has published poems, stories and essays in over 70 journals and anthologies, including Crannog, The Meadowland Review, The Ilanot Review, Isthmus, Red Weather Review, Ash & Bones, and Lunch Ticket. He has been nominated twice for Pushcart Prizes, received awards from the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and the MN State Arts Board, and his novella Searching was serialized in 33 issues of The Alley News.
"Teach us to care and not to care.
Teach us to sit still."
—T. S. Eliot
This morning’s snow has melted
by the time the sun begins its
measured descent into daily death.
It is too early in the season
for robins to return, and not late
enough in the day for crows
to gather in their nightly howling
joy, thousands of birds exclaiming
each empty sky. There are
winds I do not hear. Words
betray my solemn refuge. Below,
the earth is stirring up its sins—will
they be forgiven, will they be marked
with soot? We cannot keep from
devouring the fruit—it is our
nature, our nation—but in our
numbness, we forget to plant
the seed. Teach us. Teach us
the song of unclenching the fist,
give us back our severed tongues,
shorn of their tender lies. Born
pure and broken, we stumble
through a frenzy of eating and war.
I cannot see you among the rushes,
but I hear you whistling me
a new skin, a terrible, strange
love. Here I am, Lord.
Brand me, bind me,
mark me beholden
in this dying sun.
BURNING THE PALMS, MINNEAPOLIS, 2020
One palm still shows a bit of green,
as if it did not know how to die.
The rest crackle as we break them
into pieces into the foil-lined pot.
It is always windy the day before
Ash Wednesday, as if the spirit
cannot abide before it is commanded
to be still, to repent of its waywardness,
to settle into the flesh which must return
to dust. We light a match, we touch
it to the severed fronds. The fire leaps
into the air, devouring, then settles
into embers that glow red before
the whole bouquet crumbles into black.
Some years we forgot to bring gloves
and the pot burned our palms. Some
years we used snow to keep the ashes
from flying. There have been so many
deaths, so many immolations. Black
lives matter. Black ashes simmer.
Children burned alive. Families
deported in half. Hospitals bombed.
The wind stirs the pot. The smoke
on our fingers never leaves.
Maryanne Hannan has published poetry in numerous publications including Spillway, Rabbit: A Journal of Non-Fiction Poetry, Rattle, Poet Lore, Minnesota Review, Magma, Oxford Poetry, Ruminate, Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry, Windhover, Christianity and Literature, The Christian Century, Ruminate and Gargoyle, and in several anthologies, including The World Is Charged: Poetic Engagements with Gerard Manley Hopkins. She is the author of Rocking Like It’s
All Intermezzo: 21st Century Responsorial Psalms (Resource Publications, 2019).
A former Latin teacher, she lives in upstate New York, USA. Her website is:
Quanta Quanta Quanta
How many of the many things—Plural!
Note the rhythm, Quanta, how pleasant
to articulate the Latin interrogative,
our rounded lips elongating. The final
expulsion of breath. But you’ll notice,
not the form scientists chose for their
unified theory. Singular—they chose
Quantum as the mechanics of how much
Oneness we have to contend with,
everything being energy, including matter.
And on it goes, a black hole of theorizing,
sorta like the God who was Yahweh,
our One God until He became our Abba
and settled down to build a church.
But nothing gets lost, even then,
to our surprise. A wave is a particle;
a particle, a wave. Truth is energy;
energy, truth—ready to morph into
tomorrow’s light. Every lust, every
voracious act of greed wrings, splinters,
spits across nations, bedrooms, dark alleys,
secret lairs, confession booths, weaves in
and out of time, how much, how many
bouncing droplets await Conversion.
Await their singular startling Oneness.
What does it mean
that the one who taught us
to say Our Father,
the one who heard his own mother's plea,
an importunate one
because he was not ready,
brought forth for the guests the best wine yet?
What does it mean
that the one who, alone in the desert,
forewent the bread, refused the flight,
the power and glory of the evil one;
the one who grieving a sister's pain,
put an end to Lazarus' death?
What does it mean—for us—
that the one who hoped,
dared look at the heart of darkness
and call it Abba,
that he who did this
died on the cross:
Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani?
The Nostalgia Which Seizes Us
That’s what Teilhard calls it
When nature, in this case, the morning sun
Discards its disguise, the ho hum horizon light.
Ah! Our ancient ball of fire after all!
Yesterday’s murk, the fog of despair,
My own failure-to-thrive garden,
The homeless turtles, wandering terns.
Our ravaged reefs, buzz-sawed land.
And then, this moment, out of nowhere,
The startling Christness. Pulsing.
You see it, don’t you?
"Mysterium Tremendum" previously appeared in Emmanuel, the Magazine of Eucharistic Spirituality.