Palm Sunday Poem

I wrote this poem a few years ago, and it has added meaning since I haven’t attended mass since the pandemic hit last year. I dusted it off today for Palm Sunday and revised it.

Palm Sunday

Looking at the attendees
at mass this morning—
a mix of people
holding palm fronds,
a diverse collection
of human specimens,
cells and blood wrapped in skin
and topped with hair.

We are bodies
moving toward death,
passing on a journey
leading to dust or fire,
burial or cremation.
But does the soul live on?

No one knows
for sure if a spark of life
exists after death takes hold.
But faith allows one
to accept this uncertainty,
trusting in the words
Jesus spoke and the work
he accomplished.

And so we celebrate
his entry into Jerusalem
on this Palm Sunday,
while acknowledging Good Friday
will come for all of us.

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Been Away Too Long

I’ve been so tied up with work, family and long-range creative projects that I have neglected this blog for far too long. I haven’t posted anything since January—not that anyone is missing my content.

But during my Saturday morning jog/walk in downtown Syracuse, I snapped a photo and composed a short poem. To me both represent the ephemeral nature of life. If I had not stopped running on the sidewalk to take the picture or pull out my mini notebook and jot down the poem, the image and words would have been lost.

The sun would have shifted or shadows would have altered the light hitting the buildings and the words would have escaped my mind. A good reason to always carry a smartphone, a pen and a notebook. You never know when inspiration will strike.

Morning reflection. A George Costanza pinkish hue. Photo by Francis DiClemente.

Giving Up Admission

I can’t keep
it together.

I don’t have
the strength
to carry on.

Can I let go
and fall into
your arms?

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Snuffleupagus Tree

Instagram Poem #11

Snuffleupagus Tree. Photo by Francis DiClemente.

Snuffleupagus Tree

A fallen tree in Chittenango, New York,
reminds me of Mr. Snuffleupagus
from Sesame Street.

And I wonder:
Is my psychological
interpretation accurate?

Did I pass this Rorschach test
inspired by a tree?

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Message on a City Block

Instagram Poem #9

Photo by Francis DiClemente.

Message on a City Block

A note written on a flyer
posted outside a Dunkin’ Donuts store.

The words read:
“What About the Homeless In CNY??
Does Any One Care??”

The message provokes empathy
and a swelling of guilt,
since my answers to the questions
lack sufficient compassion.

Do I care? Yes I do.
Enough to do something about it?
Well, apparently not.

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Sitting in a Pew

This is the eighth Instagram poem that I have shared from my work-in-progress poetry collection, entitled Outward Arrangements. I took the photo in December of 2019, when I slipped into the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Syracuse to say a quick prayer. I have not stepped inside a church since the pandemic hit. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and brighter days ahead.

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse, New York. Photo by Francis DiClemente.

Sitting in a Pew

An empty church
instills a feeling of peace,
and a sense of being
part of something
larger than yourself.
It’s a reminder that for me,
life without faith in God
is meaningless.

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