Flannery O’Connor’s Faith

The Catholic faith for her was not as some butterfly
fluttering so lovely upon an easy breeze
while a rainbow arced in a clear blue sky
and cheerful birds sang among the trees—
it was being one-winged and tumbling, nearly killed
by a passing car that did not brake,
or half-smeared on God’s indifferent windshield
careless of however fragile or pretty the butterfly’s make;
it was the lepidopterist pinning it upon
cardboard and encasing it in garish glass
to display the grotesqueries of beauty cruelly gone
and the beauty of grotesqueries as they come to pass,
for her faith was of Testaments both Old and New,
and thus she believed that conviction meant sorrows and agony—
the butterfly caught in a spider’s web, a view
with which I, an atheist, happen to agree.

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