WORK & PRAYER
by Bruce Taylor
Yesterday after chapel, Modestes
who sometimes wakes me by
singing the Veni Creator Spiritus
very loudly in his sleep
took me to the barnyard
for the blessing of the animals.
As this month’s rectory second‑servant,
I had to go to say my prayers
and then put out the soup
but first the shy calves in the calf pen,
then the indifferent sheep.
The chickens we could not catch
we blessed on the wing.
The rabbits stood still
for our censer and incense
but shivered when we dropped
the holy‑water on them.
Even the devils, Modestes says,
deserve God, so we chased
a few apostate ducks through
the ragged fence he’ll have me
mending the next day, or the next.
~ first published in Cumberland Review