Speaking of Heaven

James, a priest for forty years, feigns surprise,
replies How strange!   No, he cannot say he
has ever preached a sermon about Heaven.
He drains his glass of burgundy, bends down
to pat his dog               
      to find it has quietly left the room.

Anne, one of his faithful flock, knows exactly
what Heaven is like, a place where the reward
for lifelong labour is to sit around and chat
with everyone you knew in life.  Everyone?
Your neighbour with his drumkit?   James asked.
It’s all right, she says, God lets you choose.

That evening, James sits up late, stares
into the dying fire in the grate.  Fetches
his stick, unhooks his crumpled coat.  A long while
afterwards, he returns.  Tired and angry
at his dog who, unnoticed, wandered off
          and however much James called his name,
would not come back.

Diana Brodie

If you have any comments on this poem, Diana Brodie would be pleased to hear them.