Gazing into the Abyss

J.B. Toner

This painless life has been too little blest,
 Too little in true suffering immersed—
 Of all disease is comfort not the worst,
For one who seeks a cause, a cross, a quest?
Yet one who treads the road of holiness
 Leans perilously near a brink accurs’d:
 For vampire-slayers oft are bitten first,
And exorcists are oftenest possessed.

 But still—but still—may not a man risk all,
   If only to escape tepidity?
 Ah, Father, let me climb and dare the fall,
   Though I myself soon beg surcease of Thee!
 Let me be tested, even if I call
   Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?

J.B. Toner is a graduate of the school of hard knocks.