catholic poetry room

This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Carolyn Martin.                                                                                                                                              

Step by Step

“I do not ask to see the distant scene—one step enough for me.”
—John Henry Newman, “Lead, Kindly Light”

If it were only the black leather gloves
molding in a pile of leaves or the cell phone
on a freezer shelf, I could cope.
Even unsent birthday cards filed away
with tax receipts are bearable.

More alarming now, I cannot predict
when I’ll forget how to turn
the oven on or write a check
or why the front door key won’t fit.
There are the bills I thought I paid.
RSVPs never sent. The names of friends
I’ve known for years? They’re on a shelf somewhere.

I need to write things down.
The keys are in the kitchen drawer
with contacts for emergencies.
My will is in the firebox.
I prefer white roses over pink.
My favorite hymn’s a prayer for Light.
Distant scenes fade.
One step through darkness will suffice.

Previously published in Carolyn Martin, Thin Places (California: Kelsay Books, 2017)

From associate professor of English to management trainer to retiree, Carolyn Martin has journeyed from New Jersey through California to Oregon to discover Douglas firs, months of rain, and dry summers. Her poems and book reviews have appeared in publications throughout North America and the UK, and her fourth collection, A Penchant for Masquerades, was released by Unsolicited Press in 2019. She is currently the poetry editor of Kosmos Quarterly: journal for global transformation. Find out more about Carolyn at

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