by Jeffrey Essmann

Despite the manna and the quail
and all that they entailed
of God and miracle
to meet the Hebrews’ churlier demands;
despite a general attitude
of post-Egyptian gratitude,
there must have been some mornings when,
emerging from one’s tent.
the desert evening spent,
it looked like just another day of sand.

So I in these my desert days,
as bountifully grazed
by God and miracle
as those who once adored the golden calf,
sometimes just lack the aptitude
to quite embrace beatitude,
and have those mornings dull of soul
when squinting as I might,
I lack all inner light
and can’t make out the manna for the chaff.

Jeffrey Essmann is an essayist and poet living in New York. His poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, among them America MagazineDappled Things, the St. Austin ReviewU.S. Catholic, Grand Little Things and various venues of the Benedictine monastery with which he is an oblate. He is editor of the Catholic Poetry Room page on the Integrated Catholic Life website.

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