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Three by Madeleva

Poems by Sister M. Madeleva, C.S.C.

White Peace

The whiteness of the moon is on the world,
Sleeping and beautiful;
Across the blue remoteness drifts and clings
The wandering whiteness of a single cloud.
One passionless mountain lifts its face to heaven,
Wrapped in white peace and very far away.
To the quick bosom of the earth is pressed
The fragrant whiteness of a little flower.

The light of your white soul shines on my life,
And in my heart the whiteness of your love
Burns always.

(from Knights Errant)

In Desert Places

God has a way of making flowers grow.
He is both daring and direct about it.
If you know half the flowers that I know,
You do not doubt it.

He chooses some gray rock, austere and high,
For garden-plot, trafficks with sun and weather;
Then lifts an Indian paintbrush to the sky,
Half flame, half feather.

In desert places it is quite the same;
He delves at petal-plans, divinely, surely,
Until a bud too shy to have a name
Blossoms demurely.

He dares to sow the waste, to plow the rock.
Though Eden knew His beauty and His power,
He could not plant in it a yucca stalk,
A cactus flower.

(from A Question of Lovers)

Peace by Night

A velvet beautiful and dark
With hunched horizon lines of trees,
A silence boundaried by stars:
I will remember these;

And all our speech resolved into
An utter impotence of words,
Helplessly mute with living song
Like dream-bewildered birds.

Beyond this time of breathing peace,
This moth-still mystery of night,
I shall not need the dawn's elate
Apocalypse of light.

Leave me this hour of deep content
With darkness upon darkness spread,
Your face against its velvet set,
And blue stars overhead.

(from Four Girls)

The Four Last Things: Collected Poems (1959) pp. 16, 91f, and 158f.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Sun. 07/27/03 01:39:42 PM
Categorized as Literary & Sunday Poetry Series.


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Cor ad cor loquitur J. H. Newman — “Heart speaks to heart”