A Work in Progress (for Joe O’Connell), Larry Schug

A beggar’s hand reaches from limestone,
holding an empty bowl.
The stone faces of the imprisoned,
the silenced and the mute,
the blind and blinded face me;
homeless, widowed, orphaned people,
refugees and prisoners of conscience,
those emaciated of spirit and flesh;
the least of our brothers and sisters,
but our family just the same,
stare from limestone eyes
at whoever crosses before them.

Limestone chips litter the floor,
the husks of the sculptor’s prayer.
The sculptor, breath barely squeezed
through a cancerous esophagus,
asks only for enough breath
to finish this work.

Reprinted with the permission of the Liturgical Press, the Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota, from Divine Favor: The Art of Joseph O’Connell. Editor, Colman O’Connell. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, c1999.  CSB, SJU and SJP Libraries Oversize N 6537.O265 D58 1999.