Below, a second draft of one of the poems that came out of my experience in Italy. It refers indirectly to a prayer service with communion that I attended at St. Peter’s in Rome. Theologically, the poem is sorta more Roman Catholic than I actually am these days, but whatever. As symbol, it works. Though I did not stay to eat, those fifteen minutes were closer to true “communion” than anything I’ve experienced in years.
Hunting the Host by Mark Nielsen
To stalk or float or smilingly crawl
through the holy mud of another day,
what helps most
is having first glimpsed some divine secret,
even though the curtain
was drawn open only for a moment,
so that all I saw was the sparkling, sunlike,
mysterious, timeless host in His holder,
right there in the chapel for prayer at St. Peter’s,
seductively calling me inside:
“come see the hidden Bread God in His imperial home
just shy of the center of the universe!”
I listened to my inner Carnival Barker and went in.
All this is a secret,
one only to be spoken or chanted
back to the host Himself.
you need not go there to know the Way.
Just draw back the curtain before the altar of your heart,
enter in silence,
serve and eat the Life.