What Do You Want?


This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Philip Vassallo.                                                                                                                     

What Do You Want?
after John 1:38

If you find yourself on a deserted path with two men following,
do not run, cry for help, or reach for whatever weapon you can find,
as He did none of these. Turn to them and ask, “What do you want?”
They might ignore the question, walk on by, and you’ll continue your journey.
They might answer, “Everything you own,”
and you’ll have to choose what happens next at this milestone.
But if they answer your question with a question of their own,
this might be a different kind of turning point in your story.
That sudden wind you feel brush against your face,
the rush of blood awakening your every sense,
the Hand grasping yours you’ll mistake for mortal stillness
might mean your time has come to answer their question:
“Teacher, where are you staying?


Philip Vassallo, an American of Maltese ancestry, is a writing consultant and the author of The
Art of On-the-Job Writing, The Art of Email Writing, and How to Write Fast Under Pressure.
His poetry, essays, and fiction have appeared in many publications, and his plays have been
produced throughout the United States. His widely read blog WORDS ON THE LINE has been
offering tips on writing at home, school, and work since 2005.

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About the Author

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


Jeffrey Essmann 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.

Jeffrey is an essayist and poet living in New York. His work has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, among them America Magazine, Dappled Things, the St. Austin Review and The Road Not Taken. He is a Benedictine oblate of Mt. Saviour Monastery.

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