Late Prayer

May our weapons be effective feminine inventions that like life.

May we blow up like weeds, and be medicinal and everywhere.

May the disturbed ground be our pharmacy. May the exhausted

hang out in the beautiful light. May our souls moisten and reveal us.

May our actions be deft as the inhale after a dream of suffocation.

May the oligarchs get enough to eat in their souls.

May we participate in the intelligence we're in.

May we grow into our name. May political harm

be a stench that awakens. May we not be distracted.

Let our joy repeated be power that spreads.

May our wealth be common. May oligarchs come out

of their fortresses and become psychologically well.

May their wealth be returned to the people and places.

May we shift slide rise tilt roll and twist.

May we feel the very large intimacy

And may it assist us.

Dive in

1. Why do you think the poet calls this prayer “Late”?

2. There is tension between violent language (blow up, weapons, suffocation, political harm) and more gentle terms (medicinal, beautiful, souls, joy, intimacy) – what does this contrast accomplish in the poem?

3. This poem is full of metaphors. Which one is your favourite? Why does that one stand out?

4. What do you think the poet means by “the very large intimacy”? and by “the intelligence we’re in”?

5. What is the significance of beginning with images of plants / weeds? Is this an ecological poem? Is it a political poem?

6. If you were reciting this poem, would you take a tender approach, or a more commanding one? How would you handle the repetition of the word “May” at the beginning of each phrase?

Writing activity

Try your hand at a prayer poem about an issue or theme you feel strongly about, using Robinsong’s formulation of lines beginning with the word “May we/our/etc”

Useful links

Book*hug launch with Erin Robinsong reading


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Bibliographical info

Erin Robinsong, "Late Prayer". Copyright © 2017 by Erin Robinsong. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

Source: Late Prayer (Rag Cosmology, Book*hug 2017).

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