Thursday 3 November 2022

Two Poems by Dennis Daly


Three Untethered Psalms Composed by Doctor John Faustus



As some men race through their life spans

We mutiny against perfection

And its rapt, its glorious display.

O miscreant rabble, follow us

Up from the abyss’s babbling depths

Where Nimrod reigns in his partial tower

Of perjurers. Free your foul needs,

Fetch us a drop of earthly water

That refreshes our memories

And loosens the outflow of dreams.



In this tepid soup of polished blackness

Pure spirit swims, ever tormented

With thoughts like jagged thunderbolts

Searing all that’s left of knowledge

Of what we were in the triumphant heavens

Next to him. Now chosen only

As tempters, not part of him

But separate. We provide

Perilous opportunities

For souls to transit through our midst.



I see in a mind of despoiled darkness

The morning star from high careening

Into clay hillocks and vales cut

With mist. Godlike, he had girded

To fight emblazoned enemies of his own kind.

His forward plot a fit offense

Against M and his empyrean prism

Of dazzling aerial forces

Before sin, before awful goodness

Enflamed these parched, desolate environs.

Playing Pinball at the All-Souls Lounge


Plunged into the busy, bitter world

Of bumpers and double bonuses,

My life, like a silver ball, flutters

Afield, nudged offbeat, irregular.

Its descent, too swift, much too dizzy

For its own good, ends with a new launch

Into the backboards, collecting points,

Caroming up, controlling nothing.

Flippers in readiness, the tilt threat

Beyond my ken of outside strategies.


Three bright orbs or opportunities

In this brutal life. Watch the display.

As we age, the machine makes changes,

Values appreciate or dissolve.

We see it in some flummoxed faces

While they calculate goodness by score.

Learn to hold one’s fate on a flipper,

A momentary rest, a comma

To vicissitudes, mindful or not.

Then send the ball on toward completion.

Dennis Daly lives in Salem Massachusetts. Daly graduated from Boston College and earned an M.A. in English Literature from Northeastern University. He has previously published nine books of poetry and poetic translations. Among other jobs Daly has worked as a dockworker, a Union Leader of a 9000-member industrial local, a city department head, and a community corrections director. He has travelled widely in central Asia. Please visit his blog here:


  1. Dennis,
    Your vision of our spiritual journey is like a Jacob’s Ladder for our souls.

    Pray our hearts remain charitable as we ponder each line !

  2. Deserves the attention of your reader.


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