Walking with Jesus

catholic poetry room
This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Barbara Crooker.                                                    
                                                           
Walking with Jesus

in the Blue Ridge Mountains, eating corn fritters
and okra, passing the black-eyed peas. He loves
redbirds and kudzu, all that green tenaciousness.
He’s not so much of a fan of men in white sheets,
gun racks, the Stars and Bars, but he’s Jesus, so
he loves them anyway. The gospel of football
eludes him, but he sure likes to tailgate. He tells
me that all the commandments are really
about sitting with your neighbors on a wide
front porch, eating peach pie, watching the sun
go down. Why are you still going on about sin
and salvation, he asks me, when you have all this,
right here, right now?

From Les Fauves (C&R Press, 2017)


Barbara Crooker‘s work has appeared in numerous journals, including The Christian Century, Christianity & Literature, The Christian Science Monitor, America, Sojourners, Saint Katherine Review, Windhover, Perspectives, The Cresset, Tiferet, Spiritus, Assisi, Dappled Things, Ruminate, Rock & Sling, Radix, and Relief, It has been anthologized in publications such as The Bedford Introduction to Literature (Bedford/St. Martin’s), Imago Dei: Poems from Christianity and Literature (Abilene Christian University Press), Looking for God in All the Right Places (Loyola Press), and Summer: A Spiritual Biography of the Season and Spring: A Spiritual Biography of the Season (SkyLights Paths Publishers). Her books are: Radiance (Word Press, 2005), winner of the 2005 Word Press Poetry Prize and finalist for The Paterson Poetry Prize, 2006; Line Dance (Word Press, 2008), winner of the 2009 Paterson Poetry Prize for Literary Excellence; More (C&R Press, 2010); Gold (Cascade Press, a division of Wipf and Stock, in their Poeima Poetry Series, 2013); Small Rain (Purple Flag, a division of Virtual Artists Collective, 2014); Barbara Crooker: Selected Poems (FutureCycle Press, 2015); Les Fauves (C&R Press, 2017); The Book of Kells (Cascade Press, Poeima Poetry Series, 2018); and Some Glad Morning, in the Pitt Poetry Series (University of Pittsburgh Poetry Press).

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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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