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consuming grace,
deep soul’d disgrace.

From the ashes
of our shame
forge new hearts
thine own to claim.

Come Spirit
make us new,
bring your peace
searing pain.

Drop down thy dew,
thy gentle reign
come again.

-- Sr. Christine Schenk, CSJ

The Day of the Blessing of the Animals

On the day of the Blessing of the Animals
my son got hit by a car.
We’d been to the steps of Saint Francis
with Guinea (the pig) in a box
and Colin and his lizard and cat.
Father Gregory had blessed them all
along with some noisy dogs
and a rabbit.

The boys went out on their scooters.
They weren’t doing anything bad.
They were in the crosswalk on Ninth Street
with the light and an adult (Colin’s dad)
when a woman turned left
and hit Philip.
Not hard.

She was not sorry.
It was not her fault.
She was just getting out of the way
of the Seventh Avenue bus.

They came and told me
and I sat on the stoop
with my arms round my son
and my nose in his hair
and I wondered
how could she be
not sorry?

Later a man around the corner
in the sidewalk café
who saw The Whole Thing
said Colin’s dad yelled so much
that if the car could have
put its tail between its legs
it would have.
Which is just about right
when I think
what could have been
on the day of the Blessing of the Animals.

-- Felicity Frisbie
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Trappist Picnic
Lafayette, Oregon

Below an Abbey meadow
I watched a doe watch me
in the cloister of an evening
but only heard from Brother
of the picnics there, three
a summer, “So we won’t forget
how to party.” Outings
like any other large family,
burgers and baseball,
though Brother confesses
“No real games since ’87;
we’ve all gotten too old.”
Above the makeshift backstop,
an ancient banner proclaims:
H O P E.
Not unlike the rest of us,
but maybe with more faith,
the monks stand at the plate,
take their cuts,
and swing for the high heavens.

-- Lou Masson
Portland, Ore.

In a Happy Place

When I was four or so
that’s as far back as I can go,
my father sang to us.
After a “brassy” July day
we lay on pallets on
the soft, cool grass.
I remember how the passing breeze
mingled with his voice and touched
my face as he sang
“Stars Of The Summer Night”
in a happy place.

-- Sr. Martha Wickham, ASC
Red Bud, Ill.

2002 in Poetry

2001 in Poetry

2000 in Poetry

1999 in Poetry

Poems should be previously unpublished and limited to about 50 lines and preferably typed. Please send poems to NCR POETRY, 115 E. Armour Blvd., Kansas City MO 64111-1203. Or via e-mail to poetry@natcath.org or fax (816) 968-2280. Please include your street address, city, state, zip and daytime telephone number. NCR offers a small payment for poems we publish, so please include your Social Security number.

National Catholic Reporter, July 19, 2002