Daniel Berrigan

POETRY: We Will Now Hear The Word Of God From Each Of Our Beloved Chaplains by Daniel Berrigan

September 19, 2018

1. Rev Stump is believe it or not for real as a stump to a grown tree so he to the verdant gospel this corpulent burgher this fictitious rubbery stamp Stump a huckster’s a hack’s gospel Stump wormwood miles of smiles 2. the priest an irish caricature wheels up in his Cadillac each a.m. an alderman to a cobbler’s funeral we the dead faces his asperges hisses on have yet like Lazarus in hell one cold Christian curse bestowal, [...]

POETRY: A Wonder Of Origins by Daniel Berrigan

June 27, 2018

flower points to a bird, bird cries like a closed eye I see your dreams. Things like my heart I never see, but see hearts bird-shaped, flower-shaped, the radiant weightless shadow my heart casts—upward, to ground; a rose, a wintering bird. They meet, they summer plummet and signet, in Hero’s [...]

PARABLE: Pray Together — Stay Together by Daniel Berrigan

January 11, 2016

From Love, Love At The End The family Katzenbauen was famous throughout seventeenth century Bavaria.  They displayed to all the nation a precious example: fidelity, affection, faith, discipline. But there was more.  The Katzenbauens were a circus family.  They had developed over the years a truly astonishing feat of resolution, symmetry, and daring.  It went like this.  As the band played, the father, mother, three sisters, and three brothers, dressed in matching lederhosen, skirts, and blouses, would step forward into the ring.  Then, on signal, in perfect timing, the oldest son would leap to his father’s shoulders, the next to his, then the next; the mother would follow, then the elder sister, and so on up.  Finally, like a [...]

PRAYER: Prayer For The Morning Headlines by Daniel Berrigan

January 11, 2016

Mercifully grant peace in our days. Through your help may we be freed from present distress. Have mercy on women and children homeless in foul weather, ranting like bees among gutted barns and stiles. Have mercy on those (like us) clinging one to another under fire, terror on terror, grapes the grape shot strikes. Have mercy on the dead, befouled, trodden like snow in hedges and thickets. Have mercy, dead man, whose grandiose gentle hope died on the wing, whose body stood like a tree between strike and fall, stood like a cripple on his wooden crutch. We cry: Halt! We cry: Password! Dishonored heart, remember and remind, the open sesame: From there to here, from innocence to us: Hiroshima, Dresden, Guernica, Selma, Sharpeville, Coventry, [...]

MYSTICISM: Bread by Daniel Berrigan

November 21, 2014

From Love, Love at the End Want nothing small about men – except perhaps their words, modest and thoughtful and almost inaudible before their deeds.  For the rest, bigness; heart, brain.  Imagination too; let it take the world in two hands and show us what it’s like to be!  Tell us about it, we’re hungry.  Doesn’t the Bible call truth bread?  We’re starved, our smile has lost out, we crawl on a thin margin – a life, maybe, but so what?  Where’s the man who says yes, says no, like a thunderclap?  Where’s the man whose no turns to yes in his mouth – he can’t deny life, he asks like a new flower or a new day or a hero even: What more is there to love than I have loved? When I [...]

JESUS: The Imagination Of Jesus by Daniel Berrigan

March 11, 2014

From Testimony: The Word Made Fresh There is more than one way of identifying ourselves.  When speech is used, the most powerful (and highest) clue to “who I am” is imagery, metaphor, a poem.  This is one way of understanding certain passages of John’s Gospel.  In a series of declarations, many of them metaphors, Jesus describes himself: “I am the bread of life,” I am the light of the world,” “I am the door,” “I am the good shepherd,” “I am the resurrection,” “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” “I am the vine.” The images imply a profound communion between spirit and visible creation.  In one image the communion is celebrated between aspects of Earth’s creation and spirit (“I am the way, I am [...]

POETRY: Miracles by Daniel Berrigan

January 7, 2014

(Daniel Berrigan achieved notoriety in 1968 when he and his brother, Philip Berrigan, were put on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list for their involvement in antiwar protests during the Vietnam War.) Were I God almighty, I would ordain rain fall lightly where old men trod, no death in childbirth, neither infant nor mother, ditches firm fenced against the errant blind, aircraft come to ground like any feather. No mischance, malice, knives. Tears dried. Would resolve all flaw and blockage of mind that makes us mad, sets lives awry. So I pray, under the sign of the world’s murder, the ruined son; why are you silent? Feverish as lions, hear us in the world, caged devoid of hope. Still, some redress and healing. The hand of an old [...]

PRAYER: Faith Is A Two-Way Street, Hope Is A Hand-to-Hand Clasp (Psalm 74) by Daniel Berrigan

February 18, 2013

From Uncommon Prayer Why O God are you silent why does evil have the upper hand? The sweet earth is wasted, why? Torturers crush the bones of the strong Blank-eyed juntas sit in judgment Firing squads dispose in a moment’s bark a single snarl, of the troublesome heroes Meantime you hide out meantime you are silent Maker, ruler of all, into what hands have the reins slipped? The horseman named death the horseman named plague the horseman named hell They race like mad dogs to the four corners of the world they round up like an Auschwitz herd, your helpless ones Are you a mere onlooker a witness fleeing the murder scene one whose evidence, if given, would convict Cain vindicate the blood of his brother, balance off the scales in the hand of [...]

POETRY: Advent (Five Poems)

December 19, 2012

A Prayer for the Healing of the Wounds of Christ Laurence Housman (For Advent) Is not the work done? Nay, for still the scars Are open; still Earth’s pain stands deified, With arms spread wide: And still, like falling stars, Its blood-drops strike the doorposts, where abide The watchers with the bride, To wait the final coming of their kin, And hear the sound of kingdoms gathering in. While Earth wears wounds, still must Christ’s wounds remain, Whom love made life, and of whom life made pain, And of whom pain made death. No breath, Without Him, sorrow draws; no feet Wax weary, and no hands hard labor bear, But He doth wear The travail and the heat: Also, for all things perishing, He saith, “My grief, My pain, My death.” O kindred [...]

PRAYER: Prayers Of Daniel Berrigan

September 24, 2012

Prayer of the Vindicated Thank you at last. The question indeed was long and vexed, allowing of infinite delay, this or that stab at solution well-intentioned, in long run unavailing. Then the state gathered strength out of weakness, a dynastic leopard starved itself for the feast. A people known in the world for its achievement; coals, gases, alkaloids, engines, boots and amenities more precise and cunning — false teeth, false hair, the reprocessing of old bones and bottles, melting down of jewelry — a genius to make the head spin in the telling! Well, we were a chosen people once more chosen! The gears ground fine the fires were stoked. Our children included in the vast ‘definitive solution,’ swept along, a minor debris — [...]

POETRY: Saint John Baptist, by Daniel Berrigan

August 8, 2012

I A sword forbade me to grow old; it cut time like a parasite from eternity. Could death have eyed and pierced my body, could I have stood upon the nails an hour, would he take warning from his murdered shade casting his fate in smoky runes with points of light like lips where death had fastened? I follow from sad limbo till death unfasten, till his rising unwind and wear me aureole      choir      crown II In the mirror a sword made descending briefer than image a stream carries beyond, I saw John old: eyes cold, hair silver. Look how I save you sang the blade strongly: dwarfing honors, prophecies by rote a stalemate heart. Freedman, stand free. I caught in two hands this unripe storm-shaken fruit, by hate (by love) tossed down [...]