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The Quest

I dreamt

I was in an insane asylum 

Looking for a girl I knew. 

Not a mental health facility; 

this was the old-fashioned huge affair, 

endless wards,

Bed after bed; 

wandering children of God with vacant eyes.

The beds too were empty 

Each one only 

with a note

On the pillow 

Sharing word of that 

Person’s unique pain. 

I woke under a pier

At an amusement park 

Asleep on a thin mattress,

And the tide lapping 

Around it’s edge. 

I struggled up, 

Found my knapsack already soaked by salt water, 

And rose into the light 

To continue the quest. 

[Danvers (MA) State Hospital, ca. 1893]


A native of the North Shore of Boston, I currently live on Long Island, New York. I worked at Boston College as the Acting Director of The Church in the 21st Century Center until August, 2010 and served until November 2016 as Canon for Formation, and Dean of the George Mercer Jr. School of Theology of the Diocese of Long Island. I am now Rector at the Church of Saint Anselm of Canterbury in Shoreham, New York.

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