I posted Angela Alaimo O’Donnell’s “Flannery and Dante” the other day. Here is another poem by O’Donnell, this time dealing with Flannery O’Connor and St Thomas Aquinas.
“Flannery and St Thomas Take II” takes as its epigraph a typically contrarian passage from one of O’Connor’s letters:
I feel I can personally guarantee that St. Thomas loved God because for the life of me I cannot help loving St. Thomas. His brothers didn’t want him to waste himself being a Dominican and so locked him up in a tower and introduced a prostitute into his apartment. Her he ran out with a red-hot poker. It would be fashionable today to be in sympathy with the woman, but I am in sympathy with Thomas.
—Flannery O’Connor, Letter to Elizabeth Hester, August 9, 1955
Sunday morning and what do I know
beyond my own foolishness? I spend
my days with crazies who come from my brain.
Thank God for Thomas. He keeps me sane.
A man who knows his nature and his end,
keeps both forever fixed in view
so as not to get waylaid on the road
to salvation, unlike the worser person
I am, easily derailed by temptation,
what’s pretty and what’s witty and what’s new.
Like the peacock loves his tail I love my work.
Seduced by sinners, fools, & jerks
I delight in as I write in my study,
my pen my poker, my thoughts often bloody.
I feel a web of kinship here. Thank you.