Kilian McDonnell’s “Perfection, Perfection”

kilianI wrote a teeny-tiny micro-review for the March issue of Sojourners of Kilian McDonnell’s newest poetry collection God Drops and Loses Things. Here’s a poem from his earlier collection Swift Lord, You Are Not. McDonnell is a Benedictine monk at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota. I love his wry intimacy with God.

Perfection, Perfection

I have had it with perfection.
I have packed my bags,
I am out of here.

As certain as rain
will make you wet,
perfection will do you

It droppeth not as dew
upon the summer grass
to give liberty and green

Perfection straineth out
the quality of mercy,
withers rapture at its

Before the battle is half begun,
cold probity thinks
it can’t be won, concedes the

I’ve handed in my notice,
give back my keys,
signed my severance check, I

Hints I could have taken:
Even the perfect chiseled form of
Michelangelo’s radiant David

the Venus de Milo
has no arms,
the Liberty Bell is

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