I. On Theodicy

Where was God, you ask,
as the roof collapsed and crushed
those fleeing dark death?
We may answer with Thomas:
in at least two ways:
by power and by knowledge
was God there with them:
by His power, whereby He
made the roof exist
as it collapsed, uncaring,
on those beneath it;
by His knowledge, whereby He
knew those anguished cries
welling up inside
those who would die, uselessly.
On the contrary:
God was there, intimately
present to the deads’ last pains.

II. On Mariology

From high throne, aloof,
look down upon your subjects
who fight, die, shed blood,
on all who toil on earth;
who, wanting solace, act fools.
You fill them with words—
for what else have you to give?
Not the work of care,
for that one must come to you—
and receive naught but silence.

III. Cruelty

You formed every heart
to beat down its prison walls,
its own self, and seek
peace in another; but, some
forever You deny rest.

Martyrs to Your will:
their faces, portals of gloom;
their mouths, scythes, used to
cut down joys they cannot know,
quench loves that can never be theirs.

A crack across
its perfect alabaster face–
at last, this statue
can show us who see it
true aspects of a saint.

IV. Blood: Accusation

You are aware, no,
flowing through our lives' causeways,
Blood of Life and Love,
of limbs that die without you?
Then you know full well
these necrotic limbs will fail,
fail for want of you,
who bestow life on others,
but allow these limbs to die.

Matthew Guertin is a failed Catholic philosopher and theologian who finds himself most at home in the ancient Japanese poetic tradition, especially that of the chōka form of Yamato and Nara Japan, as well as the traditions of the minor Hebrew prophets and the Biblical Hebrew poets. He draws from these wells to explore questions dear to him that he has found, in one way or another, to be taboo in most orthodox Catholic circles.