This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Johanna Caton, O.S.B.
I rose before the sun was up but it was nearly morning for,
outside, the world was waiting as musicians wait, their song
compressed and coiled round and round and round into a spring
releasing not a sound until the maestro’s wand allows their song
to fly and then God breathes again.
And that was how the morning was before it was. The waiting sky
held night in bluest tone and stars – a few remained and gleamed –
and I stood still, and all the garden stood still, too – still:
with every cell and dream alive. The summer air seemed
thick and tasted sharp as silver.
At last a small and feathered voice sang six soft notes and ceased.
I thought it asked if it should sing, if it was right – its little tune
so hesitant. It seemed surprised in heart to find itself apart
from all the universe, the first to sound the dawn – the first to play
its note in the cacophony of day.
But it was right – no doubt of that, and I was finally free to smile
and turn and go and kneel and pray in peace and in the gentle fear
of God who wears his might as lightly as that feathered thing, whose song,
so soft, so small, was all I’d ever longed to hear.
Johanna Caton, O.S.B., is a Benedictine nun from Minster Abbey in Kent, England. Born in Virginia, she lived in the United States until adulthood, when her monastic vocation took her to England. She writes poetry as a means of understanding the work of God in her life, whose purposes and presence can be elusive until viewed through the more accommodating lens of art and poetry. Her poetry has appeared on Agnellus Mirror, in the ‘Daily Reflections’ blog and The Christian Century.