Advent Song

Advent Song

Lady, what songs are bending
The tall grasses of your mind,
What secret music whispers down your veins,
What wax-leaf ponderings, O Virgin Mary,
Waken our little shouts of expectation?

Our thoughts have lumbered down a treeless highway,
Have sputtered their heavy loftiness, have wept
Their protest. Now we hear the distant birdcall
Oh, dimly! but the woods have heard it well.
The stars are singing in their stupefaction,
The giddy little hills are clapping hands.

But Lady, what songs sway
The supple grasses of your thoughts,
What secret music whispers down your veins?

Glorious things are said about this city
Where the small citizen Christ moves in the lanes
Of so-brief arteried comfort; but what songs
Drift through this templed alabaster town?

We see the windows lighted, Virgin Mary,
City of God, by every hymn we raise
With chipped and broken voices, and our feeble
Vision guesses sacred silhouettes.

But when the little Seed fell in the furrow,
The warm and spotless furrow of your heart,
Tell us what pure songs stirred your delicate wonder,
What secret music whispered down your veins.

Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C. [late Abbess of the Colettine Poor Clare monastery in Roswell, New Mexico]


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A Sunday-poem by Mother Mary Francis:


This is the season of snows,
when the sky, all in pieces, is falling,
and bells from invisible towers
are soundlessly tolling.

Over the carpeted earth,
footsteps are coming and going,
leaving no tracks on a land
where winter is snowing.

Where are they hanging, the bells?
Whose are the feet that come walking?
And voices gone speechless with cold–
to whom are they talking?

Sound is an alien here,
and vision the child of a stranger.
Nothing is feeding the heart,
nothing but hunger.

Feed then my eyes and my ears.
God, feed my hunger with hunger,
my longing with snow-falling snow,
my heart with your winter.

Petal upon pink petal

A Sunday-poem from Mother Mary Francis:

On Beholding a Field of Pink Lilies

Go, toss your pretty heads!
And who shall blame you,
Seeing your image in the eyes of God?

Petal upon pink petal,
Flirt with breezes
Leaning from dawn to watch your coquetry.

But suddenly my smiles
Of kind indulgence
Melt into tears to see you casting down,

Petal upon pink petal,
Your brief living
Gladly and gaily into the lap of God.

~Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C.

Queen of Craftsmen: An Advent Song

Queen of Craftsmen: An Advent Song

Blow on, exquisite blow,
The crystal hammers of her love,
Fasten the careful joinings of His bones.
Prophets have sung this craft:
How man may number
These bones, but never break any one of them.

What blueprint guides you, Queen of architects,
To trace sure paths for wandering veins
That run Redemption’s wine?

Who dipped your brush, young artist, so to tint
The eyes and lips of God? Where did you learn
To spin such silk of hair, and expertly
Pull sinew, wind this Heart to tick our mercy?

Thrones, Powers, fall down, worshipping your craft
Whom we, for want of better word, shall call
Most beautiful of all the sons of men.

Worker in motherhood, take our splintery songs,
Who witness What you make in litanies:
Queen of craftsman, pray for us who wait.

Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C.

“Advent Summons”

Advent Summons

Come forth from the holy place,
Sweet Child,
Come from the quiet dark
Where virginal heartbeats
Tick your moments.

Come away from the red music
Of Mary’s veins.
Come out from the Tower of David
Sweet Child,
From the House of Gold.

Leave your lily-cloister,
Leave your holy mansion,
Quit your covenant ark.
O Child, be born!

Be born, sweet Child,
In our unholy hearts.

Come to our trembling,
Helpless Child.
Come to our littleness,
Little Child,
Be born unto us
Who have kept the faltering vigil.
Be given, be born,
Be ours again.

Come forth from your holy haven,
Come away from your perfect shrine,
Come to our wind-racked souls
From the flawless tent,
Sweet Child.

Be born, little Child,
In our unholy hearts.

~Mother Mary Francis

“The Mending”

A Sunday-poem by Mother Mary Francis:

The Mending

There is no shattering love cannot mend,
No shards its gentle hands shall not make whole.
Healing, its glances brush like wings across
The deepest rawness of the heart, and leave
At last, at last no trace of briney woe.

What though we walked in ruins of a dream,
What though our tears had faded out the rose
And gold of what was once a splendid bond?
There is no shattering love cannot mend,
No shards its gentle hands shall not make whole.

Sweet is the love that never knew a wound,
But deeper that which died and rose again.

Room in this inn

A Sunday-poem from Mother Mary Francis, from a longer poem entitled “The Mysteries of the Rosary”:

XIII. The Descent of the Holy Spirit

Fiat!  there’s room in this inn
Of huddled community, Mary,
For you and your telling of Jesus
Over and over again
Until there’s a splitting of heavens
And fire comes and Spirit, and souls

Are drenched with the wine of that Fiat!
That suits men for martyrs.  Is there
Space for us, too, in that upper
Room of your love where first Fiat!
Let God be Man, where first Fireing
Of Spirit enkindled Redeemer?

“Our Lady of the Ascension”

A singular poem about what it was like for our Lady after the Ascension.  How could she stand this separation?

Our Lady of the Assumption

Fold your love like hands around the moment.
Keep it for conference with your heart, that exit
Caught on clocks, by dutiful scribes recorded
Less truly than in archives of yor soul.

Turn back from His going, be His still-remaining.
Lift the familiar latch on cottage door . . .
Discover His voice in corners, hear His footfalls
Run down the porches of your thoughts.  No powers

However hoarse with joy, no Dominations
Curved with adoration guess what whispers
Of “Mother, look!” and “Mother, hurry!”
Glance off the cottage walls in shafts of glory.

How shall your heart keep swinging longer, Mary?
Quickly, quickly, take the sturdy needle
Before your soul crowds through your flesh!  the needle
And stout black thread will save you.  Take the sandal

Peter left for mending.  After that,
The time is short, with bread to bake for John.

Mother Mary Francis

Be still and see that I am God

A Sunday-poem from Mother Mary Francis:

"Be Still, and See That I Am God"
            (Psalm 46:10)

Grief went to serve sub-poena upon God:
Come to the witness stand.  Defend Yourself
From accusation that You've sudden grown
Inadequate to parenting Your world
Or me or all whomevers.
                         Where went Abba?

Has no one seen Him?  Shrill cacophony
Demands Him.  But He's nowhere to be seen.

Down cosmic boulevards loud seekers sought Him,
At impotent Omnipotence raised cries.
How lapsed skills managerial?  Why is
Desk of Divinity left unpresided

While worlds and hearts keep shouting:
                         Where went Abba?

With hounds of noise they hunt Him, turn their beams
To show Him. But He's nowhere to be seen. 

Out of loud forum blast the cries for Him
To show His face, exhibit as of old
Ability to order hearts and planets.
That chorus drafts my membership, save I
Venture such cavern as admits no sound,
Enter alone the cave where breathes my being
Contingent wholly on His own and risk
Faith's total silence.
                      But then, You had foretold it!
In stillness I have seen that You are God.


Many times God rescues us in ways different than perhaps we would like.  “My ways are not your ways . . .”


I prayed for a lifting out of distress,
A setting down on the shore
With sweet warm sand beneath my feet
And storm-slashed waves no more

Breaking upon me.  A ripe fig tree
For dreaming under perhaps
And over me draped a cloud-fluffed sky
With sunlight around me wrapped.

Sweet Jesu, pray save me from all things dark
And rescue me from distress!

But You only gave me a raft to ride
With You the waves of distress.

Mother Mary Francis