St. Dominic’s Patio Chair

catholic poetry room


This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Tim Bete.

St. Dominic’s Patio Chair

I have spent hundreds of hours
praying in the blue patio chair
in my office—across from the bookcase

filled with rolls of duct tape and fishing
gear and a tub of spackling paste. Plastic
mesh pulled tight between powder-coated

metal arms and legs—arms just far enough
apart so my elbows don’t touch them
when my hands are folded in my lap.

Hands lie nestled one inside the other,
fingers never intertwined; bare feet
shifting back and forth on the carpet

like grazing animals, until they find
their perfect spot. Is it a paradox
to find my sweet Lord’s presence

in a place designed for drinking beer
between games of cornhole? I wonder
if the chair misses its compatriots, exiled

outside in the rain around the umbrella
table. Perhaps it is they who think
the indoor chair has been exiled.

St. Dominic surely would have included
my chair in his nine ways of prayer,
had he sat in it for only a few minutes—

inserting the chair sitting position between
standing erect with arms outstretched
and reaching towards heaven like an arrow.

When I get to Heaven and find
a place prepared for me, I hope
that place has a blue patio chair,

for there are times when I imagine
worshiping God for all eternity
sitting in this chair. And I hope

in Heaven, I meet St. Dominic
so he can try my chair and comment
how comfortable it is and how his

elbows don’t touch the arms, as I watch
his feet graze the floor before settling in.
But for today, the chair and the bookcase

and the rain outside are mine, as I sit
with the Lord, my soul resting
in a chair disposed to prayer.

 


Tim Bete is Poetry Editor for IntegratedCatholicLife.org. St. Dominic’s Patio Chair appeared in his poetry book, The Raw Stillness of Heaven.


 

About the Author

Tim Bete, ICL Poetry Curator

Tim Bete is Poetry Editor for IntegratedCatholicLife.org and always searching for the best Catholic poetry from today's poets as well as those of the past.

Tim's poetry has appeared in Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry, The Asketerion, and the Poet and Contemplative Blog of the Discalced Carmelite Friars (Province of St. Therese). His first book of poetry is The Raw Stillness of Heaven, of which one reviewer wrote, “If you are Catholic and think that you do not like poetry, this book will change your mind.”

Tim is former director of the national writers' workshop at the University of Dayton—a Catholic, Marianist university. He's a member of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCDS) and often trades poems with his oldest daughter, who is a Dominican Sister. He says she's the best writer in the family.

Tim's writing has also appeared in several editions of the Amazing Grace anthology series (Ascension Press), theChristian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest magazine, and numerous parenting magazines. He is currently finishing his second book of poetry, Wanderings of an Ordinary Pilgrim.

To submit poetry to be considered for the Catholic Poetry Room, visit Tim's website.

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