Poison Pie Publishing House: A Prayer for Disquiet

A Prayer for Disquiet

All is there, only I am no more,
all is still there, the fragrance of rain in the grass,
as I remember it, and the sough of the wind in the trees,
the flight of the clouds and the disquiet of the human heart.
Only my heart's disquiet is no longer there.
-The Dead One (Den Döde) by Pär Lagerkvist
from Evening Land (Aftonlund)
translated by: W.H. Auden and Leif Sjöberg,
Wayne State University Press, 1975.

Lord, there is a restlessness stirring within me
for which I implore your aid in settling.
This feeling stems not from a dissatisfaction
with my current whereabouts, for there is

no other place to which I would rather go.
Curiously, this uneasiness arises naturally
from within me, as easily as milk flows
from a nursing mother. There is a purity

to it that originates from both within
and without. This disquiet sounds
a silent alarm, reverberating endlessly
in the microscopic spaces between my bones

and my flesh. It is no less than a warning,
a warning that the confluence of dynamics,
which have led to the state of the universe
and to the roles of all living organisms

who roam or scurry or burrow inside it,
seems terrifically misguided, utterly at odds
with my own internal compass, at best,
unpalatable. Such also is the perception

of the insane, of those who reject reality
as unsuited to their needs, who craft
alternatives accessible to none but themselves.
Lord, I have no more desire to share in the lot

of the insane than I do to engage this world
on the unpleasant terms in which it is presented.
Forgive me, if, faced with this dilemma, I stew,
in a manner that brings neither of us satisfaction or relief.

A Prayer for Disquiet
David Keffer
Knoxville, TN
October 14, 2014