Christ of the Great Plains

This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Colin Cutler.                                                                                                     

Christ of the Great Plains

(From American Inferno)

I believe that Jesus died out in Nebraska.
We nailed him to the only tree we had,
while the Devil in the main
car of the Kansas City train
blew that whistle, blew it till it drove me mad.

No one ever sees the face of God the Father,
blue and lonesome as the bare and empty sky;
But He makes His presence known
riding in upon a storm
and whips your heels, till there’s nowhere left to hide.

And I do believe I felt the Holy Spirit
just a-burnin’ and a-blazin’ in the wind–
the summer dries out your tongue,
and the winter burns your lungs;
and it numbs your lips and strips off all your skin.

And I believe that I might jump in the Missouri;
only the cottonwoods will see me as I go.
And the next place I’ll be seen
is somewhere down near New Orleans–
to pour my sins like oil on the Gulf of Mexico.


Colin Cutler is a banjo- and guitar-playing songwriter with his roots in North Carolina, but a lifetime spent on military bases around the world. He holds an MA in English from UNC-Greensboro, an MA in Creative Writing from York St. John University, and is currently teaching on a Fulbright at Universitatea Lucian Blaga in Sibiu, Romania. He is currently working on his 4th album and a musical stage play re-setting Dante’s Inferno to the United States, which will be performed at Festivalul International de Teatru din Sibiu in 2020. Previous poetry, scholarship, journalism, and songs can be found in Beyond the Walls, Mythlore, Military Engineer, and colincutlermusic.com

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About the Author

Tim Bete, ICL Poetry Curator To submit poetry to be considered for the Catholic Poetry Room, visit our submission guidelines page.


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. His latest book is Wanderings of an Ordinary Pilgrim

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