Poem: “God’s Favorite Language”

God’s Favorite Language

After Compline, Brother Leo
started his wordless pilgrimage
around St. Bernard’s
canopied with stars that sang their light.

Quiet became his passport
into the kingdom to come.
His prayers were invisible
like the God whom he served

but who spoke to him
in the Creator’s favorite language
to share mysteries and prophecies,
to listen to the conscience of the monks.

The best conversations with God
never came from rippling lips
but from sealed mouths and open souls.

Of all the senses listening is the purest
unless corrupted by Adam’s legacy,
the rattle and rush of idle or backbiting
words, or phrases

from babbling tongues
that confuse devotion
and lead to a multitude of sins.

A saint of solitude, Brother Leo
prayed in less heard places;
he spoke more to God, less to men

and longed to go to the African desert
where the still air reverences silent prayers
said centuries ago by holy men with beards.

Philip Kolin

Philip C. Kolin, Professor of English at the University of Southern Mississippi, has published four books of poems, including Deep Wonder: Poems (Grey Owl Press, 2000) and, most recently, A Parable of Women: Poems (Yazoo River Press, 2009). More than 200 of his poems have appeared in or are forthcoming in such journals as Christian Century, America, St. Austin Review, Christianity and Literature, Michigan Quarterly Review, Windhover, Seminary Ridge Review, Louisiana Literature, Blue Collar Review, St. Anthony Messenger, South Carolina  Review, etc. Kolin is also the founding editor of Vineyards: A Journal of Christian Poetry (www.vineyardspoetry.com) .  He was educated by the Jesuits and the Dominicans and considers St. Joseph his patron.