A Poetic Pause


It’s the end of April, which means that National Poetry Month is winding down.

What better moment to pause and appreciate words written by longtime Roper St. Francis chaplain and noted poet and writing teacher, Capers Limehouse.

Limehouse holds an MFA in creative writing and was the founding editor of the Atlanta Review before entering her chaplaincy training at Roper and becoming a Vocational Deacon through the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. Though Limehouse retired from the chaplaincy earlier this year, her service with the Ryan White Program and HIV/AIDS ministry and with the Roper St. Francis hospice and palliative care program will always be a big part of the Roper St. Francis community.

So we share this poetic pause with you, in the spirit of all things beautiful and meaningful and questioning. Why else?


Why Else?

By Capers Limehouse (published in 2010 by The Christian Century)

It may be that we are the mockingbirds
of the universe.

No bee studies to imitate
the bower bird and build
 postmodern hives of sticks and debris,

No bear hibernates in a tree
on a platform of bent branches,
exploring the experience of gorillas,

No walking or crawling creature spends its life desperate to build wings;

No other creature here sees
a meteor streak across space and thinks—
I could do that.

Or watches army ants destroy
everything in their path and forms ranks.

Or maybe we are this small locus of the universe
watching itself, thinking itself through.

Why else would some of us study 
ancient stone bones our whole lives, 
arguing passionately
over how they ran,

what kind of mothers they were,
 how anything that size had sex,

much less the frozen moons
of far distant planets
 where nothing
 will ever buy or sell us anything;

why else the Sistine Chapel,
 or Guernica, why else poems, why else prayers,
why else words at all?