Comfort often gets a bad rap. It strikes many as avoidance, or that which the privileged seek or have, or it gets attached to the odd term “comfort zone,” as if there is some area we can go where we aren’t going to be troubled. How can one get up in the morning and expect to find that? It’s where the snipe hangs out.

The comfort we deserve now is that which gives us comfort within our distress. Kinda like that old sweatshirt, or soup, or, that person who doesn’t leave when there is nothing to say.

This week’s poem, I hope, speaks to the kind of comfort/comforting we deserve, perhaps especially now.


There are those who know
the world without words,

not even a murmur or
a breath. Within the modesty

of presence, a prayer
could be green, tattered,

cold, alone as a possum
crossing a back road. It’s

the touch of the still. It’s
where we are Amen,

Shalom, Namaste—it’s our
there, here, our forgotten

habitat of yes. We become
sigh, our “I” the wet dog,

the sparrow nesting
in the anonymity of brown.

–Jack Ridl

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14 thoughts on “Prayer

  1. I’m thinking about comfort being that person who stays when there is nothing to say. Currently waiting for my elderly aunt to finish breakfast (the table was full) as she adapts to life in Holland at Vista Springs Holland Meadows.

    My best to you and Julie. How did your houseboat and that of your sister fare in the storm? Well, I pray.


    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Jack,

    What an exquisite poem! “The anonymity of brown” The pauses and silence, “alone as a possum crossing a black road”… It is filled with images and the cadence of stoppage. The line breaks (Amen at the end of the line, although part of a list)and use of the unbalanced tercets are synonymous with the message. Wow! We Thank you for blessing our days with this poem! I keep wondering where these extraordinary images you conjure come from!?! “The “forgotten habitat of yes,” and of course “a wet dog” – but I wouldn’t have thought of them! Living in metaphor adds to all experience!! Have a wonderful day!

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Beth, dear Beth, how beautifully you read the art of the poem.
      What a blessing you and your astonishing realizations are to me.
      Every single thing you say here enables me to continue to make
      the artistry itself matter within the whole.
      Actually, I too wonder where it comes from. Fifty years of internalizing
      and having a reader such as you are supporting creation itself.

  3. What wonderful inward tone these words and phrases evoke. I love the ” habitat ” as a tandem experience, always available, sometimes remembered. This is where I find “myself ” more and more……..Thank you Jack

    • I hope you know, Charles, what a joy it is to have you
      read tone. Of course you can, so sensitively.
      May you continue to find “yourself” there in that life-giving habitat.

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