Writing this poem began with the title. I then collected my thoughts on what would represent my religion. I found quite a miscellany of images, which surprised me a little but ultimately was as I should have anticipated.
When I perform the poem, I tie the individual pieces together with a verbal representation of this surprise. I change my mind - it is my religious poem, then my gratitude poem, then my love poem...
It is difficult to put those tying passages down on the page, so I am going to skip them and give you each individual sub-poem alone. Here are the first two.
This is my religious poem
I stop to help a couple push
Their stalled car off the road;
Breathing steam expelled between
my locked arms take the load.
Back bent, sliding gravel gripping beneath my soles,
Finding purchase on the stilled artery,
Finding purpose in being pulled forward by their need.
Sitting on the steps in the rain
I listen to the Smiths on my mp3 and watch
A raincoat girl, glistening yellow as a rubber duck,
Bob to the letterbox to post some catalogues,
Her head bowed with purpose and the
Pamphlet weight of her pack.
As she turns, beneath the beak of her hood,
She lifts her eyes and smiles.
When I raise a palm off my knee
And reflect her smile I am surprised
I am crying.
I like the rain and I like the Smiths
and I didn’t know I was crying until I tasted