The Preacher Ruminates Behind the Sermon, by Gwendolyn Brooks

I first read this poem in one of my favorite anthologies and it immediately became one of my favorite poems. I don’t know if it’s one of Brooks’s minor poems, but she was on a number of my course syllabi in college and this one was never assigned. It’s pretty much a perfect poem and the final stanza is about as beautiful as anything written in English.

THE PREACHER RUMINATES BEHIND THE SERMON

I think it must be lonely to be God.
Nobody loves a master. No. Despite
The bright hosannas, bright dear-Lords, and bright
Determined reverence of Sunday eyes.

Picture Jehovah striding through the hall
Of his importance, creatures running out
From servant-corners to acclaim, to shout
Appreciation of His merit’s glare.

But who walks with Him?–dares to take His arm,
To slap Him on the shoulder, tweak His ear,
Buy Him a Coca-Cola or a beer,
Pooh-pooh His politics, call Him a fool?

Perhaps–who knows?–He tires of looking down.
Those eyes are never lifted. Never straight.
Perhaps sometimes He tires of being great
In solitude. Without a hand to hold.

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