POETRY: Love Letter by Madeleine L’Engle

POETRY: Love Letter by Madeleine L’Engle

I hate you, God.
Love, Madeleine.

I write my message on water
and at bedtime I tiptoe upstairs
and let it flow under your door.

When I am angry with you
I know that you are there
even if you do not answer my knock
even when your butler opens the door an inch
and flaps his thousand wings in annoyance
at such untoward interruption
and says that the master is not at home.

I love you, Madeleine.
Hate, God.

(This is how I treat my friends, he said to one great saint.
No wonder you have so few of them, Lord, she replied.)

I cannot turn the other cheek
It takes all the strength I have
To keep my fist from hitting back
the soldiers shot the baby
the little boys trample the old woman
the gutters are filled with groans
while pleasure seekers knock each other down
in order to get their tickets stamped first.

I’m turning in my ticket
and my letter of introduction.
You’re supposed to do the knocking. Why do you burst my heart?

How can I write you
to tell you that I’m angry
when I’ve been given the wrong address
and I don’t even know your real name?

I take hammer and nails
and tack my message on two crossed pieces of wood:

Dear God
is it too much to ask you
to bother to be?
Just show your hindquarters
and let me hear you roar.


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