A Young Man’s
Search for God

I sought God in the heavens,

in the glory of sunrise and sunset

and the brightness of the day.

But at night they were bleak and cold,

with more dark than light,

and I could not find Him there.

I sought God on earth,

in the beauties of the land,

the symmetries of a flower,

the special appeal of the human form

said to be created in His likeness.

But there was also suffering and misery,

destruction and despair,

and I could not find Him there.

I sought God in my heart,

in my desire for good and truth,

within the imperfect amalgam of my humanity.

But despite my intentions,

there was too much fear and failing,

and I could not find Him there.

All my life I searched,

but whether God hid from me,

or I from Him,

I do not know.

I met God on my deathbed.

My head lolled on His shoulder

as He carried me toward the light.

But I opened one eye against the nighttime glare

and saw His face, and lo, it was my love,

with her smile of forty years ago

and her tears of yesterday.

Keith Tornheim, February 2009

God is Like Swedish

I think God is like Swedish.
I learned in Stockholm,
looking at museum labels,
that if I squinted my eyes half closed
and read really fast,
I could get about one-third of the meaning;
but if I looked closely,
it didn’t make sense at all.

Keith Tornheim, April 2009