This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Johanna Caton, O.S.B.

Nicodemus’ Dream After His Meeting with Jesus by Night

I dreamed a dream and wish I were still dreaming.

I knew well Whose tomb it was, no one needed
to say, but it was the unearthly fragrance of myrrh
and aloes that surprised me in the dream, whirring,
in the strong musk of spring’s earth-smell—oh,
I smelled that, too, in my dream—the restless earth.

Then I felt it, as I looked into the empty berth—
the earth seemed small compared to the inside,
the hollow, cradle-space seemed wider than sky—
my breath was crumbling, my gaze blurring—
something in dawn’s silken air made me turn

and fall—all that wild hair and swirling cloth, worn
by the two creatures who sat on the bare stone
of the burial slab, at the head and the foot, yearning.
They said, “Nicodemus, Nicodemus?” I burned,
said, “Here I am.” They said, “Are you ready to be born?”

I dreamed a dream and wish I were still dreaming.

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 Ekphrastic Review, The Christian Century, Amethyst Review and other venues. She is a 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee.

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