The Madman

by Jeffrey Essmann

He has his bad days, days when demons rend
Their wretched way through his disordered soul
And drive him pacing blankly from one end
Of church and back on sad patrol.
Sometimes he mutters: monologues begot
Of things that may have happened (maybe not);
Sometimes he’s drunk or simply off his meds,
Obscenely shrieking curses at the dead.
At others, though, he kneels before a shrine
And pours his tortured madness into prayer
(As do we all, as do we all our cares
Lift up in empty hands to the Divine).
And in that moment’s stillness he recalls
A vague and tender grace (as do we all).

Jeffrey Essmann is an essayist and poet living in New York. His poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, among them Dappled Things, the St. Austin ReviewThe Society of Classical PoetsAmethyst ReviewAgape ReviewAmerica MagazineU.S. Catholic, Heart of Flesh Literary Journal, Edge of FaithPensive, 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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