Ecstasy by Charles Wm. Preble

Welcome to Sunday Morning Lyricality, featuring a weekly song or poem by a Minnesota writer.

This poem questions what is required for happiness. Charles Wm. Preble came to poetry late in life. First, he served until his retirement as an Episcopal priest. Then he took up woodworking. And finally, poetry found him, as did a surprisingly large group of faithful readers, who revere the clarity, simplicity and wisdom of his words. “Ecstasy,” is taken from his third collection of poems, Simple Attendance.

Tracy Rittmueller

Charles Wm. Preble

I’ve taken to ecstasy lately:
not the amphetamine-based
stuff used to induce visions.

No, it seems quite ordinary
to me. Not a mindless gaze,
or a disappearance into many

thoughts. It is a wonder, really.
Not a questioning with penny-ante
answers. It’s not cheap. It asks

for nothing less than the fullness
of my attention, my presence,
my everything. It’s not productive.

Not answerable to outcome-based
analysis. Only the willingness
to be there where I am anytime.

There is no longing to be anyone
else. Imperfection or perfection
are of little concern. I guess

I have to say, crazy as it seems,
I love my life exactly as it is.


Charles Wm Preble, in addition to writing poetry, is an artisan and a priest. He has lived in St. Joseph, Minnesota on a nineteenth-century farmstead surrounded by woods and fields since 1986. It is this place with its solitude, quiet and wildness which inspires the daily wonder of writing and reading poetry. He has published two collections of poems, The Ruffed Grouse, (2012) and Portals, (2017), and Simple Attendance (2020), available for purchase at Minnesota Street Market, and at the bookstores of The College of St. Benedict and Saint John’s University.

"Ecstasy" first appeared in 
Simple Attendance by Charles Wm. Preble (© 2020). 
Appears here with the permission of the author.
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