Mercy! Charity! Faith! Holy!

By Patrick T. Reardon


Holy the lone juggernaut! Holy the vast lamb of

the middleclass! Holy the crazy shepherds of rebellion!

Allen Ginsberg, “Footnote to ‘Howl’ ”


Answers are demanded of too many questions.


Write the vision, plain as a tabletop,

carved into barroom wood.


Vision has a time appointed,

presses on, will not lie.  Wait for it.


Let go, ungrasp.

Let go, free.


Promissory note, hope.

The structure of bread.

A new moon over Highway 77.


Reptile, ogre, jackal, mud

— pure as any other thing.


Singer-king leapt and whirled

and claimed his loot, sinner

that he knew himself to be and prophet.


Wisdom is queen.


Patrick T. Reardon


This poem was originally published in Burningword Literary Journal, January, 2023.

This poem will appear in my forthcoming book Salt of the Earth: Doubts and Faith from Kelsay Books.

Written by : Patrick T. Reardon

For more than three decades Patrick T. Reardon was an urban affairs writer, a feature writer, a columnist, and an editor for the Chicago Tribune. In 2000 he was one of a team of 50 staff members who won a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting. Now a freelance writer and poet, he has contributed chapters to several books and is the author of Faith Stripped to Its Essence. His website is

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