By Christian Wiman

For all
the pain

passed down
the genes

or latent
in the very grain

of being;
for the lordless

the smear

of spirit
words intuit

and inter;
for all

the nightfall

into me

even now,
my prayer

is that a mind

by anxiety
or despair

might find

a trace
of peace.

Christian Wiman, the author of Survival is a Style (FSG, 2020), Hammer is the Prayer: Selected Poems (FSG, 2016), My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer (FSG, 2013), and other books, teaches at Yale Divinity School and Yale Institute of Sacred Music.

Christian Wiman, “Prayer” from Once in the West, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Copyright © 2014 by Christian Wiman. Reprinted with the permission of the poet.