by John C. Mannone
I am deaf to your voice, blind to your light, Lord. Put earth in my ears, clay on my eyes, wash me with the water of your words, purify me, let it be my mikvah. Baptize me in your love. Open the flood gates of heaven, let it rain, let it fill the pools where I go to drink or bathe. As if a venture to the pool of Siloam— your gift, your peace—this is my pilgrimage back to the place of peace, my shalom. I’ll bring you more than a song, King of endless worth, I’ll bring you more than a poem. I’ll bring you me, whom you had fashioned before I was in my mother’s womb, but now I’m an unfinished poem, broken. I’m coming back to the heart of worship, it’s all about you, it’s all about you, Jesus. My God, you’re an awesome God. Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. You are holy, holy, holy. I want to see you… I am desperate for you. I’m lost without you.
Lyrics from the album Worship, Michael W. Smith, may be spliced together: “Let it Rain,” “Heart of Worship,” “Open the Eyes of My Heart,” and “Breathe”
John C. Mannone has poems in North Dakota Quarterly, Poetry South, Windhover, Braided Way, Spirit Fire Review, Credo Espoir, Heart of Flesh Literary Journal, and Scriblerus Arts Journal. He won the Impressions of Appalachia Creative Arts Contest in poetry (2020) and the Carol Oen Memorial Fiction Prize (2020). He was awarded a Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature and served as celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). He has three poetry chapbooks, and four full-length collections: Disabled Monsters (Linnet’s Wings Press, 2015), Flux Lines: The Intersection of Science, Love, and Poetry (Linnet’s Wings Press, 2022), Sacred Flute Iris Press, 2022), and Song of the Mountains (Middle Creek Publishing, forthcoming 2023). He’s been nominated for Pushcart, Rhysling, and Best of the Net awards. He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex, Silver Blade, Liquid Imagination, and American Diversity Report. A retired professor of physics, he lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.