Julia Griffin


This Happy Breed

For John H.

“These Happy Dogs Love Sliding Down Snowy Hills”
—YouTube clip

A dog slides down a snowy slope,
Lands, shakes himself, and starts the climb
Back up, in the unfailing hope
Of no less fun a second time.

Pure repetition! Poor mankind
Has lost the art of it somehow.
Why can’t we be more canine? (Mind,
That’s fifteen times I’ve watched this now.)

Christmas Uplift

For Margaret

“Dublin Airport was closed on Christmas day, and airport chaplain Father Desmond Doyle
took advantage of the empty runway to perform his annual ‘Blessing of the Planes.’
The ritual has been going strong since 1947.”
—Apple News

“Still more are ye beholden to Him for the element of the air which He hath appointed for you”
—St. Francis of Assissi, from the Sermon to the Birds (c. 1220)

The airport is empty. The washrooms are still;
Each restaurant slumbers behind its own grille;
In all the cold airstrip, no clatter profanes:
Today Father Desmond is blessing the planes.

All year they have hurtled, tremendous in steel,
While passengers doze or bewail the wrong meal;
They’re used and abused, from Tralee to Trieste;
But now on the runway they wait to be blessed.

“O children of paradox, pride of the air:
May grace be upon you, delight be your share;
May faith fill your fuselage, love be all things:
The wind underneath and the oil in your wings.

Go soar like the angels (a little less high);
May She of Loreto protect, as you fly,
Your engine and cabin from hitches and holes,
And cherish your inmates, both bodies and souls.”

The airport is quiet. The bus routes are calm;
There’s nothing to hear but the ghost of a psalm,
That none can account for, but somehow remains
Though Father’s long finished his prayer for the planes.

Julia Griffin lives in the southeast of Georgia, USA, and/or the south-east of England. She shares her Georgia life with a walrus who masquerades as a basset hound