Patrick Cabello Hansel

Contributor Biography

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

ASH WEDNESDAY

 

"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

Contributor Biography

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:

www.mhannan.com.

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.

Mysterium Tremendum

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? 

 

Author's Note:

"Mysterium Tremendum" previously appeared in Emmanuel, the Magazine of Eucharistic Spirituality.