Category: Poetry (Page 1 of 3)

Queen of Peace

White ocean-star, of radiance serene,
Still pool all diamond-clear and filled with light,
Enclosed garden where fairer Eden’s seen,

Bright tower, mountain-firm, in every fight
Immovable by raging of the foe,
Who guard and guide God’s servants through the night,

O Lady, look with love on us below,
Amid the fierce insanity of earth;
Too little peace do we who dwell here know.

My heart, like a small whirlwind from my birth
Of longings, pains, impulses, follies, fears,
Has of sweet stillness a deep, hungry dearth.

Wild winds of turmoil and storms of tears
Beset my way, and all my brethren’s ways,
And none knows how long till the tempest clears.

And all around us fierce contentions blaze,
From vicious, cruel hearts the fires abound,
As if to swallow earth in blackened days.

And we, in struggling, ourselves confound;
Our shadowed minds can’t find what makes for peace;
We helpless sheep, our bleats to heaven sound.

O shining Mother! bring us God’s release,
His saving mercy and His gracious power,
That Heaven’s light on poor earth may increase.

O you, who in the long-appointed hour
Gave us the Prince of Peace, hope’s burning star,
And give us still His grace’s golden shower,

O you who felt His cross’ crushing bar,
But deep down kept that radiance serene,
O show us where that peace and sweetness are.

Your flaming heart all sunlike, blessed Queen,
Beams warmly round us with celestial glow,
Pierces our darkness with its fire-rays keen.

And out from it, a strong and golden flow
Pours round and floods all souls who linger near;
‘Tis peace, joy, love, and freedom that run so.

For you, filled with your Son, make wondrous clear
That those who let Him fill their empty space
Will have the only Light that guides men here.

I see Him as I gaze upon your face,
My Queen, my Mother, bright with peace and grace.

To our Lady of Lourdes

High above earth’s wastes of mire,
‘Mid the scintillating stars,
You shine with the fairest fire,
Purest daughter born of ours;
Once a veiled light in our midst,
Now a beacon from the height,
Would you thin our murk and mist
From the heavens with your light?

No, your light is love’s warm flame,
Living, potent, surging out;
‘Twas on its account you came
Through the shadows round about:
To a hollow bare and bleak,
In the year’s gray, dreary time,
Sickened souls you came to seek
And heal with your light sublime.

By your humble messenger,
Frail flesh housing strength of grace,
You caused slumb’ring hearts to stir
From the night with piercing rays.
Those who hearkened and drew near
Found, at your feet, mercy’s spring,
Heav’nly water running clear,
Poured for flesh’s suffering.

But still more, your burning soul
Yearned to cure their spirits’ ills,
By love’s fire to make them whole,
Cleanse their hearts, make straight their wills.
Your bright hands reached down to pull
Men out from sin’s foul night,
Tear them free, and see them full
Of your Son’s celestial light!

Still you labor ceaselessly
For your children in the night,
O bright Queen, may I too be
Cleansed and healed and set aright!
So let me, like Bernadette,
Bear your blessed rays afar,
That all lost souls may come yet
Where your Son is, where you are!

The Home-lights

As wanderers in weary dark
Look up to see the glow
Of lamps in windows of their town
And feel its nearness so,

Or sailors on long voyages
Strain eyes for their own land,
And hail with joy the twinkling port
That tells them ‘tis at hand,

So I, when wand’ring weary as
Some soul on road or foam,
Look out into the evening sky
To see lights of my home.

For there it is, where I belong,
And where I look to be;
A worn traveler here, I lift
Eyes thither eagerly.

For wheresoever I go here,
‘Tis never truly far
From my true home; so I recall
When I behold a star.

No rolling dark of stormy clouds
Can stain or smear their glow.
Their fair power safeguards my heart
From ugliness below.

No dark of sorrow on the way
Can their beauty obscure,
And lights of joys inflame me to
Look upward more and more,

Up to the splendid lights of home,
The guiding glow sublime,
The fullness of all radiance,
Rest past the road of time.

For there—let it set me alight—
He is, Who fills my heart,
My great Beloved Lover Who
Is all my joy, my part.

There, too, my Mother sweet and fair,
Star-lily bright and pure,
And all my blessed brethren who
Have gone this way before.

All this I see when I look up
Into the evening sky,
And feel fresh strength to love and live,
For I live and know why.

When earthly sun veils o’er the lights,
I’ll hold them in my mind,
That they may light me from within,
Help me my way to find.

To reach my shining home at last
No toil will I spare,
Nor other wanderers to aid,
Till all reach fullness there.

I’ll See You Soon

When last I saw your face,

When last we spoke, and laughed, and sighed,

We told each other, “Yes, I’ll see you soon”—

But now the miles sprawl out wide,

The cruel dividing space.

 

Now Practicality,

From her unyielding lofty seat,

Stirs all our heartstrings in a bitter tune,

Decreeing that we may not meet,

For space bars you from me.

 

In sorrow now I look

Across the misty sea of Time,

Straining to see our next meeting ahead,

But from the ocean only climb

Dim phantoms tempest-shook.

 

Naught’s certain on these waves;

On them I cannot rest my heart;

What floats on Chance too often sinks like lead.

And yet while we remain apart,

My pain still healing craves.

 

A heart must have a rock,

A solid place on which to rest.

Is there no cure for restless spirits’ ache,

No stay for hearts too sorely pressed

By wind’s rush and wave’s knock?

 

A voice I now hear call,

Not from the waves, but o’er them high:

“Recall you not that I too, on the lake,

Knew stormy waters rising high,

And bade the tempest fall?

 

“I know the storm you face,

The turbulence of chance and change,

Shaking and stealing what you hold so dear.

To Me your tears are nothing strange,

The state of all your race.

 

“A rock of rest you seek—

Know that you have this refuge sure.

I am the rock unchanged; the beacon clear

Is my Heart’s fire, burning for

The weary and the weak.

 

“Take courage; know you this:

Your voyage harsh will not be long,

One day’s brave sailing, and your coast you reach,

Splendors unshaken—o, be strong!—

And you’ll find those you miss.

 

“So while you ride the waves,

Keep near to Me, your rock, your light,

And I will keep you, bring you over each

High swell, mad gust, dark shade of night.

I am the One Who saves.”

 

One moment through the storm

I glimpse a flash, a piercing glow,

A gleam from high hills of eternity,

And Him Whom we need faith to know,

For we see not His form.

 

‘Tis fleeting, yet its ray

Burns like the lightning through my soul,

Not chasing sorrow’s dark away from me,

But firing me for a goal—

This, this will constant stay.

 

The sea remains the sea,

And fierce the voyage I must make,

But its tumult will not make me afraid.

Though wild swell may steal or break

All we know presently,

 

We are not of the sea,

But boldly press on toward the land,

Given to us by the great promise made

By Him Who could on water stand

And from it sets us free.

 

So storms of grief shall cease

Ere long, for it’s not long we sail;

My dear, I tell you—yes, I’ll see you soon.

Our blessed Beacon will not fail;

‘Tis He is our sure peace.

 

Then let our hearts be strong

Upon the course that forward lies,

Our gaze fixed on our homeland past the moon;

For when we look through Heaven’s eyes,

‘Tis never really long.

 

Advent

Quietly the frozen earth
Pregnant with its seedlings lies;
Quietly the waters rest,
Still and reverent in their ice.

Fluting birdsong now is stilled,
And the insects’ rasping choir;
Softer voice of plaintive wind
Sends its calls to heaven higher.

Autumn’s flaming glories now
Have dropped, faded, from the trees,
Which in plainness penitent
Raise gray hands in skyward pleas.

They echo sweet, solemn tunes
Of the organ and the bell,
Taking up our rising cry,
“O Veni Emmanuel!”

Now atop a purple stalk
Blooms a single fiery glow;
Soon another answers it,
Then the rose light burns to show

That this still and silent time
Brings a beatific reign;
Blest are all whose lamps are lit;
You who wait, wait not in vain.

You who’ve watched through darker night,
Trustful hearts awaiting Him,
See your waited Dayspring come,
Brightening skies that were dim.

You who wander in the night,
Who know not for whom to wait,
See the Son who brings a light
You could not anticipate.

You who shrink like beaten curs,
Thund’ring wrath for sins to flee,
See redemption come for you,
Like the dewfall, tenderly.

Set the fourth light burning now!
Brighten lamps and tune your strings,
Branches bring and winter flowers,
Find all fair and gladsome things;

Pray with hearts more earnest now,
Bright, hot, quiv’ring, like the flames,
Watching eagerly for Him
Whose Name is above all names.

All lights but reflect His light;
Every hope from Him derives;
Gladly we our watch have kept
For this time—when He arrives!

The New Country

Yester-eve I left the quiet plain,
The path washed out by a night of rain;
Now past the mountains, a dawn bursts clean,
Glowing in glory, golden and green.
I know not what hides in the trees and grass
Spread below me now, where I soon will pass,
But with springing step now I run to meet
Moss and roots and thorns all beneath my feet.
For inside my soul burns a pure white star,
Summons, strength, and joy, kindled from afar,
Promising me sure that my home is there,
Of which I hear whispers in sky and air.
So now whether pathways be rough or smooth,
I run on in strength of a singing truth:
That the rush of wind, and the burbling stream,
And the glow of leaves in a stray sunbeam,
And the clouds above and the stones below,
And all things wheresoe’er I may go,
Are my Love’s unceasing pledge and call,
And His word is joy, for He is my all.

The White and Black Bouquet

To Thee I bring, dear Savior,

An offering tonight,

And pray it may find favor

By Thy grace in Thy sight;

No show of noble powers—

Such grandeur small souls lack—

A humble bunch of flowers,

A mix of white and black.

 

White blooms, star-shaped, sweet-smelling,

Their stalks all smooth and green,

Their snowy glow is telling

Of triumph’s happy sheen;

All this day’s little glories,

Sweet joy and bright success,

I offer Thee these stories,

With hymn of thankfulness.

 

The black blooms, shaped like crosses,

Less sweet and sharp with thorns,

These are the stings and losses

For which man’s nature mourns;

Pain, disappointment, folly,

The times when foes prevailed,

The springless melancholy,

The times I tried and failed.

 

I bring Thee these small prizes;

Thou only know’st the worth

Of any gift that rises

From human hands on earth;

So I pray that Thy splendor

May wash these in its rays,

Their fragrance of surrender

Rise pleasing to Thy praise.

 

And I’ll thank Thee, my Dearest,

For this day’s white and black;

Faith’s eye sees Thy love clearest;

My small heart gives love back.

For everything is beauty

When seen with love of Thee,

And e’en the humblest duty

Is joyous then, and free.

After Rain

Heavy veils of grey yield to wind,

Parting to reveal still-shining blue,

Shedding soft shreds, whiter now and thinned,

Gladsome white-gold sunshine beaming through.

 

All the ruts and ditches that here lie,

They are mirrors now of water-glass,

Wherein fragments of the glowing sky

Gleam up from among the stones and grass.

 

Branches netted roughly, tattered bars,

Drab grey webs all drizzle-wet and grim,

Glisten now with countless bits of stars,

Silver-bright, as if with Christmas trim.

 

Every leaf and flower-head weighed down,

Battered with the rushing of the rain,

Now stands splendid in its diamond crown,

And is swift forgetting all its strain.

 

All the earth is baptized, washed anew,

And stands radiant before the sun,

All the gloom and tempest that it knew

Now become such glory as to stun.

 

So for nature, so also for me,

When that which oppressed and struck me low,

As the light returned, changed wondrously,

New marvels of grace and joy to show.

 

Let it come then, Lord, the bitter rain,

Though it drench and pound upon my soul;

Only, send Your light, and make my pain

Something shining, my fractures Your whole.

Bride of Christ

Raise a glad song, favored maiden;

Sing out sweetly, turtle-dove,

By your King with treasures laden,

Called by Him to be His love!

Truer bridegroom was there never,

Nor more generous a lord;

All that’s His is yours forever,

Sealed with His eternal Word!

 

Lo, He sets His mark upon you,

Claims you for His own dear bride;

With His holy Blood He won you,

For your love He fought and died!

Now fair robes as bright as morning

He brings for your wedding gown,

Rarest jewels for your adorning,

And a shining royal crown.

 

But before the feast in splendor,

When your joy will be complete,

Bride of Christ, you must surrender

To what seems a dark defeat,

To the night of bloody sweating,

To the vicious world’s abuse,

To the hour, of God’s own setting,

When your very self you lose!

 

From earth’s world of dim phantasm

To your Spouse’s radiant realm,

One road only spans the chasm;

Let it not your heart o’erwhelm.

He sees your tears, drawn by fire,

By each wound and valiant loss,

Diamond stairs to lead you higher

By the King’s road of the Cross.

 

If a maid follows her lover,

Join yours on His mystic way,

Road He traveled to recover

Precious souls that dying lay.

Join His great task of redeeming

Each lamb wand’ring from His fold;

Your blood mixed with His and streaming

Sows their new life manifold.

 

Think on Whom it is you marry,

King of Kings and Friend most dear,

Who scorns not weak lambs to carry—

Let His love cast out your fear!

He’s worthy of all your treasure,

And you’ll find, dear bride of Christ,

He returns bounteous measure

For all that you’ve sacrificed!

 

Break your jar, your ointment flowing,

Pour it and count not its worth,

For the joy that passes knowing

And the love past scope of earth!

Take your cross, moved by Love’s fires,

Learn its deep, mysterious charms,

Find your heart full past desires,

Find you’ve risen—in His arms!

 

 

Ocean City Boardwalk

The sun beats down upon this bench;

The boards resound with thumping feet;

The passing breeze picks up the stench

Of tobacco and roasting meat.

 

To left and right a world spreads out

Of blaring music, flashing signs;

The cream-streaked people peer about

Through glasses dark for cheapest finds.

 

An eastern wind comes from behind,

A crisp and cool breath from the sea;

Its sharp, clean fragrance wafts to mind

A world of grace and mystery,

 

A quiet world, breakers and breeze

Singing their wild, blissful hymn,

Earth’s edge fading in glimm’ring seas,

Free blue-green depths where finned things swim.

 

My heart leaps up to hasten there,

Leaving behind this boardwalk scene,

For all its splendid flash and glare

Pales by this majesty serene.

 

I’ve brought no purse nor souvenir,

Nothing that I need fear to leave.

My shoes I gladly set down here,

Forsake the scene, and never grieve.

 

For though its sweet delights I reap,

My hungry heart finds them too small;

The sea’s glory is strong and deep,

And fades not nor changes at all.

 

So may I gladly quit this earth,

Not weighted by things on the way,

And freely seek my second birth,

The joys deeper than man can say.

 

Though pleasures here be bright and sweet,

Still my heart strains up from the sod;

Into the depths shall fly my feet,

The changeless, beauteous depths of God!

 

 

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