Prayer Chain by Tim Nolan

My mother called to tell me
about an old classmate of mine

who was dying on the parish prayer chain—
or was very sick—or destitute—

or it had not worked out—the marriage—
or the kids were all on drugs—and

all the old mothers were praying intensely
for all the pain of their children

and for life—they were praying for life—
in their quiet rooms—sipping decaf coffee—

I bet they've been praying for me at times—
so I'll find my way—so I won't rob a bank—

I'll take them—the mystical prayers of old mothers—
it matters—all this patient and purposeful love.


  1. I love this poem. I have never heard of this poet. But I love this poem. Love it!

  2. Annie
    thanks for the visit. I won't be posting for a couple of weeks, but will be reading some. Just started here, but this poem stopped him--love it! Not sure who he is--but good pick

  3. I was 30, and tearfully wrote in my journal, "Who will pray for me now, now that you've gone?"

    That sense of loss, not just of a person but of a source of potent and unconditional love--huge. Haunts me still.


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