Matter of faith

American Life in Poetry

There is a long and ancient tra­di­tion of poet­ry as a form of prayer, even in the face of faith­less­ness or per­sis­tent belief. Here, in a poem from his new col­lec­tion of new and select­ed poems, “The Naked Prince,” South Car­olin­ian poet, Ben Greer, brings to my mind the faith we have in words, even as he con­tem­plates the com­forts of his own faith in God.


Sometimes my prayers are short

they stop above my head

and God must bend to lift

the ones which I have pled

not nearly hard enough.

But when I think again

about my little pleas

is it some kind of sin

to offer them with ease?

I’m getting old, not long to live.

I hold my life above a sieve.