This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Johanna Caton.                                                                                                                                                 


of pure potency.

Cragsmen find you.
And beachcombers.
And nomads.

Creatively oblivious
to tragedy, loss, hatred,
you find legroom
with refugees,
in fire-felled forests,
and under human wreckage
of all sorts.
You keep coming,
supply ever exceeding
expectations. Tiny tyrants,
your slaves are everywhere:
breezes, bees, butterflies, species
with six legs – and more – and less –
a child’s sweet believing breath,
beings with feathers, every kind
of weather. Squirrels bury
nuts (tree seeds) in the hope
of a later feast and then
forget the place.

I’ve sussed you now: you
are the cosmic core,
the praying hub
of the living.

Then, when we,
human squirrels,
bury our seeds
and forget the place
of the promised feast,
your sly green shoots
show us the surplus
strewn by the
secret service of
ever-conspiring life.

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, or will appear in Green Hills Literary Lantern, Time of Singing Christian Poetry Journal, The Christian Century, and other venues. She is a 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee.

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