“St. Aelred,” “reVisit,” and “A Cyber Prayer Wheel for the Inventor of Computers” – Poetry by Louie Crew Clay

St. Aelred

A sacred Order safe enough for God,
where loving touch is holy, not profane.
God said, “It is not right to live alone!”
And you decide to risk — to live that way.

A friend rejects your love. It hurts, and yet
you alter not. Your friend remains most loved.
Our God creates with joy our ev’ry part
with lights turned on; our flesh and soul are whole.

Christians await, expecting God to laugh
and know full well God’s rich and joyful sound.
And God said, “Get a life! Be born again.”
The Spirit moves afresh, untamed by creeds.

It’s safe to think, imagine, and create.
No need to hang our minds up at the door.
Those ‘things we’re not supposed to talk about?’
Enfleshed as one of us, God understands.


Imagine that, imagine that
Aelred, Aelred, Abbot of Rievaulx,
you waited not for future heav’n to come
but occupied God’s realm right then and there.
Heavn’s never far away, e’en here and now.

Note: “St. Aelred” has already been set to music as a hymn by composer Bert Landman, music director at Christ Church Cathedral in Hartford, Connecticut, where it has been sung. The hymn (both his music and my lyrics) appears on the Integrity website as one of many resources for parishes to celebrate this gay saint, but my text has not been published as such.



Imagine the five minutes before your mother
learned that she was pregnant with you.

Imagine the five minutes before your father
found out.

Let those minutes tick slowly by.
Fill in any blanks with your best guesses.

Connect intimately with their world
before you were.

Imagine the five minutes after they knew,
their readjustments, their expectations.

Then reconnect intimately with your gestation,
when you were becoming,
when you were a presence and a promise.

Celebrate your wholeness.
You are a presence and a promise still.
Gestate anew.
for this is your day.
reJoy it.
reJoice in it.


A Cyber Prayer Wheel for the Inventor of Computers

Convicted in 1952, for loving another man,
he accepted chemical castration
as an alternative to 18 months in prison.

In 1954 he committed suicide,
16 days before he would have turned 42.

On his birthday I copied “Alan Turing…..”
into the memory of my word-processor.
Then, with Ctrl-V I pasted it again and again
into a new document, one pasting at a time,
after I read each sentence in the lectionary
for Morning Prayer.

It helped me re-Member him.

Elizabeth II was a new queen in 1954.
She pardoned him in 2013; who will pardon her?

Alan Turing…..Alan Turing…..Alan Turing…..
Alan Turing…..Alan Turing…..Alan Turing…..
Alan Turing…..Alan Turing…..Alan Turing…..
Alan Turing…..Alan Turing…..Alan Turing…..

Alan Turing…..Alan Turing…..Alan Turing…..
Alan Turing…..Alan Turing…..Alan Turing…..
Alan Turing…..Alan Turing…..Alan Turing…..

Amen. Ah, men.


[box type=”bio”]
Crew-LouieLOUIE CREW CLAY, 78, is the Founder of Integrity, an international organization of LGBTQ Anglicans/Episcopalians.  He is an emeritus professor at Rutgers and has received honorary doctorates from three Episcopal seminaries..  He lives in East Orange, NJ, with Ernest Clay, his husband for 41 years.

Clay has written 2,485 published manuscripts.   Just out is Letters from Samaria: The Prose and Poetry of Louie Clay, 1974-2014, with a foreword by Phyllis Tickle and an afterword by Bishop Mary Glasspool.    NYC. Church Publishers, Inc., 2015.

See his bio on Wikipedia.  You may also contact Clay via email.