Eight hundred eighty eight trillion eleven billion one hundred ten thousand eight hundred eighty eight This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Johanna Caton. [Dear Readers: the Catholic Poetry Room is pleased to expand its repertoire this week with a verse form called “ekphrastic”. An ekphrastic poem, inspired by a visual art, plays off the image, to some degree describing it, but more, establishing a dialogue between the visual and verbal expressions of beauty. Enjoy.] The Annunciation – Henry Ossawa Tanner – 1898 – Philadelphia Museum of Art But she Was Greatly Troubled by These Words(Luke 1: 29) Now the girl’s Before becomes Her woman’smothering After,perceiving in the light the unnamed sign –flame of her Master. Rushed from sleep, she’s waiting here-and dazed:to her it seemsthe real shifts, the known’s melting away,like midnight dreams when morning’s Meaning dawns. But this dawn hangsin hues of red,encompassing her mind – with rays of sunreplaced by dread. Do folded hands mean prayer, or nothing morethan mind’s abstraction?Both, perhaps, as understanding growsaction. She hears: unheard-of Promise, spirit-pledged:it stands, will rise,will fall, then fly. But she arraigns the light –while mesmerized – stunned to the limit of love’s aching stretch.She’ll acquiesce.We know the story of this strangest grace.She’ll say her Yes – but first she’s over-arched by dimness, bythe brooding nightwhile she is told impossibilitiesby shaft of light. And look at her, her look, her face so grave,she is alone,she burns with radiance, not borrowed, buther own, long sown by grace. Now knot of human sin’s undoneby one girl, awed,heart-pierced, her soul impaled, her mind unspun,here word: unappreciated. Johanna Caton, O.S.B., is a Benedictine nun from Minster Abbey in Kent, England. Born in Virginia, she lived in the United States until adulthood, when her monastic vocation took her to England. She writes poetry as a means of understanding the work of God in her life, whose purposes and presence can be elusive until viewed through the more accommodating lens of art and poetry. Her poetry has appeared, or will appear in Green Hills Literary Lantern, Time of Singing Christian Poetry Journal, The Christian Century, Amethyst Review other venues. She is a 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee. Print this entry

This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Johanna Caton. [Dear Readers: the Catholic Poetry Room is pleased to expand its repertoire this week with a verse form called “ekphrastic”. An ekphrastic poem, inspired by a visual art, plays off the image, to some degree describing it, but more, establishing a dialogue between […]

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