Tag Archives: Poem of the week

The Summer Day

22 Jun

The Summer Day
by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean–
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?


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Poem of the Week

15 Jun

 

St. Francis of Assisi is loved by Catholic and non-Catholics. Environmentalists claim him as their patron saint. Jorge Bergoglio added Francis to the list of papal names. Poet Galway Kinnell, a son of Ireland, finds Francis blessing a sow in the hog pen. Enjoy Kinnell’s poem. Find what makes Francis tick, and can inspire you, in Living Like Francis Today. Click here to read a sample chapter.

 

 

Saint Francis and the Sow

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;  
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;  
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch  
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow  
began remembering all down her thick length,  
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,  
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine  
down through the great broken heart
to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering  
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

Poem of the Week

9 Jun

One Today

Richard Blanco read his poem “One Today” for President Obama’s second inauguaration. He pictured one day across America. These are the final two stanzas. You can find the whole poem here.

One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes
tired from work: some days guessing at the weather
of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love
that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother
who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn’t give what you wanted.

We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always — home,
always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon
like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop
and every window, of one country — all of us —
facing the stars
hope — a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it — together.

May you find time this summer to look up at our one sky and rejoice in our one world.


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Poem of the week

2 Jun

Visiting Iowa

Sister Therese is from a small Iowa town just east of Dubuque. When Therese and Joan visited there, they hiked out to the north branch of the Maquoketa River and looked for wildflowers along the way. Joan wrote this poem:
 

The Maquoketa wanders still
among bluffs it long ago
wore away
muddy veins
slipping now around a bend
over old branches
in soft bottom land
a still point in the churning world
where childhood
always blooms again
purple violets, hepatica,
and shooting stars upright
in compost centuries old
where memories flit
from here to there
on newborn wings
and roots awaken
who we still are.
– Joan Mitchell, CSJ

 


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Poem of the week

23 May

Each week this summer we are posting a poem on Keeping Faith Today — Sister Joan’s blog. This week’s poem is by Sister Alice Smith, CSJ, who taught Joan all she knows about writing. Thank you, Sister Alice!

Happy Memorial Day weekend to all of you.

Mother & Child by Ade Bethune

Mary of Nazareth


Mary Queen of Heaven is a mighty queen,
but Mary of Nazareth was a queen no less,
although Nazareth folk never dreamed they had seen
in the carpenter’s house a queen in working dress;
a queen sweeping a floor or laying a table,
or washing the supper things at fall of night.
And even had they watched,
 they would not have been able
to see the angel who came in a cloud of light,
an angel with great eyes aflame with wonder
who knelt before this girl and spoke to her.
The sound of his voice was more terrible than thunder,
but she was not terrified. She did not stir.
And when she spoke, the angel bowed his head,
knowing what power moved in the word she said.
~ Sister Alice Smith, CSJ


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