Conversation with James Kavanaugh

I have lost my easy God -
Me too. I think. Tell me more of this "easy God."
He taught me to thank him for the concern
which gave me no chance to breathe,
For the love which demanded only love in
return - and obedience.
He made pain sensible and patience possible
and the future foreseeable.

Yes, I follow you. I know of that lowercase god.
Tell me a little more.
He, the mysterious, took all mystery away,
corroded my imagination,
Controlled the stars and would not let
them speak for themselves.

Yes. I have lost that easy god too.

Actually, it seems that god was ripped from me.
Do you know what I mean?
Some fierce umbilical is broken.
Yes! That's exactly how I feel.
A rebirth. Looking now with infant eyes,
seeing men as trees walking.
Now I do not weep for my sins: I have
learned to love them
And to know that they are the wounds that
make love real.

Ah, my older, too-gentle friend.
I am young, but I already see that to love the wounds is a lonely journey;
maybe only two or three gathered, a narrow road.
Transcending loneliness.

What do you weep for, if not for sin?
A dog barks and I weep to be alive...
I have a friend who smiles when he sees
me, who weeps when he hears my pain.

"Faithful are the wounds of a friend" -
the hard God said that. Remember?
His maxims memorized in boyhood do not
make fruitless and pointless my experience.

James, I too have lost my easy god.
I stumble now, rubbing mud and spit from my eyes.
I'm beginning to see.
Perhaps I have no God -
I have the beginning of love.

Perhaps we, you and I, had not love -
We have the beginning of God.

[Kavanaugh's complete poem is titled "My Easy God is Gone"]


  1. James Kavanaugh is perhaps the greatest American poet of all time and his prose regarding god is both intriguing and moving. I have read all of his books.

  2. Greg,
    I, too, have read all of Kavanaugh's work. I met him in 1996 at a book signing in Ohio on an tremendously snowy night in February. We spent some time afterwards with him drinking coffee and talking until late at night. I found him an intensely powerful man who, on the one hand, displayed his soul for all to see in his writing but, at the same time, had a mysteriously secretive piece -- almost too painful for him to talk about -- yet obvious to all who would pay close attention. I wonder where he has gone, if he is still alive and writing and if he is well and happy. I hope so.