“Good for the Soul” by Mark Jarman

Mark Jarman


      Confession is good for the soul. And suffering is good, as long as it ends. So is waiting. Toys, bread and circuses, are good. Alfresco meals with lovemaking afterwards, very good. Huge hangar-sized quiet is good, but only on paper, only there. Autobahns where fast, blinking cars blare you aside are good, very good for the soul, once you’re out of the way. Brinks and thresholds, balancing a dwindling glass for another’s thirst, these are good for the soul. And a night so dark and clear you can read by starlight is more than good. What else is good for the soul? Another soul coming close, another figment believing the stubborn illusion of time, is good. And every atom listening within a pebble where there is no time. Yes, no time, that will be good for the soul, like a long vacation. The entire void outside of space and time, where the soul is going when it retires, that will be good. So, is everything good for the soul? Yes. Everything and nothing.  

from Rattle #73, Fall 2021


Mark Jarman: “‘Good for the Soul’ is one of a series of prose poems I have been slowly gathering for years. The form seems ideal for a parable, a fable, or a homily.”

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