After reading In Praise of Shadows by Junichiro Tanizaki

Give us this day your problems.
Allow us to torment ourselves
about shadow and beauty and good taste
and we’ll swap all that we’ve got
for one hour in the life
of a tortured artiste
who wants to sit in a fancy jacks
and listen to a mosquito.

We’d leave the shadows
to the banshee and the pooka,
and the nun who died young
who lurks and snaps bony fingers
as your backside hangs
through a hole in a bench.
You tilt forward to tear
a scrap of newspaper.

All useless decoration stripped
in Sunday’s Well where Little Nellie
dances for Holy God,
Artane boys march
and Heaney’s henhouse child
views the moon
through a chink in a plank.

Ancient Magdalenes and crones—
sister-stitchers with blackened teeth
and white, pinched faces glowing
over modest grey kimonos—
enhance heaven’s cloth,
embroider Limerick lace.
Give us this day.