Poems for the Twelve Months  of the 1987-1988 Marian Year

 By Patrick Coady

 

 


 

JANUARY

To see the Child there came
Three men of pomp and gold
Who shed their cloaks of power
Within that quiet household
Jewel-grown each finger's branch
Rich-kissed each high-blessed

        head
Low bent before her word
Whom God had visited
   They bowed to her the proud

        Kings
Of Ethiop Pamphylia Nineveh


The sun had seared its mark
Upon the Ethiop's face
And snow was in the hair
Of him from the northern place
Then with the Eastern Lord
They bowed before their King
And bowed for all the world
For all men worshipping
     They homage told the golden

        Lords
Of Ethiop Pamphylia Nineveh


To Mary had they come
For sight of God to ask
And in these men's approach
She saw the ages' task
For of the Mother's love
We weary travelers pray
That through her welcome door
We too her Son may see
        Our prayers are theirs
Of Ethiop Pamphylia Nineveh.

FEBRUARY

O Sion adorn your bridal

       chambers
sing to greet the Bride
scent the rooms with prayer's

        incense
she whose will to His com-

        manding
bowed in loving's comprehending
here within His temple standing
brings the Child before His

        Father
All men's Light and Guide


O clean your dwellings free of

       sorrow
let smoke of candles lace the air
light your joy in Mary's coming
leaping ~ the taper's flare
aIl the night of mourning filling
all the death of darkness killing
all a flood of brightness spilling
as a light unto her coming
to her love a rising prayer
Illumine now the bridal chamber
for the Bride appears


Bless the light and bless the

        Mother
in whose sight decay our fears
Now the night of sin is dying
light its deepest dark defying
and our hope to God is flying
The Sun so bright is risen
and the blinding blackness clears.

 

 

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MARCH

It was I think a sun-fine day
when Mary knew the promised

        Word
for He would have the sky
show joy that time man had

         heard
that God had taken flesh.
Should not Heaven be a part
of earth or earth a part
of Heaven then?


        I know her heart
rejoiced. She saw all round
familiar small domestic things :
the pot upon the fire
the polished floor-stones' glim-

        merings
all the hundred daily duties
women have to do. She
was one who swept and cleaned
and sewed in house's custody:
to her had God been given
to nurture and to raise as man.


O the joy of it
the given blessedness of it. Can
we see the pride in it?
She is us and we are raised
for God becomes of us
takes form of us and sets ablaze
the smoldering soul in us.


This Love from God O fierce

        flares high
through her for us in her
most blessed of man to fire the

        sky.
 

APRIL

The wise man tells us suffering
    makes the heart a stone
Taps the blood and dries
    to dust tormented bone.


If this is true then how
    did Mary live when high
Her Son was raised as Stapled
    Love against the sky?


For Flesh of her was hanging
    there the Body torn
And aching for release
    the Body she had borne


At Bethlehem. The love
    of mother's heart was nailed
Upon the Tree of Blood
    where Death the leech had

       paled

The Body's glow had drained
    the Heart in envy's fear
A biting bitter thing
    this Death and her to hear


And see the final pain.
    The sun of agony
Has made the harried heart
    a desert bare and dry.


For she can know the joy
    and pain in Death alone.
Her Son is Given-God
    but in her breast the stone.

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MAY

This is the Mother's month,
The May of Mary's own,
When prayers, like new bloomed

        flowers
On Autumn winds are blown.


For her these light lit lamps,
For her these hardy buds
That chanced the early frosts.
Hers all the joy that studs


Her altered May.
The northern air is warm
And sweet its gardens' fruit.
To crown her grace this time
And birds her brightest flute.
For her this mantled May
For her this singing joy;
But here our nature's face
Has blushed and hid as coy


In Mary's May.
Upon the Autumn grasses
The frost is hung like gems
The morning's icy stillness
Is clear as Bethlehem's
Upon the night of Birth.


For her the clean-given gifts
For her this Southern month.
And clear our praising lifts
in frosty May.

JUNE

They stayed in the Upper Room
awaiting the Promised One
but dulled their love in gloom
of fear's oblivion
in this the month of mourning
after their second loss
left their beings' yearning
filled yet with fear the Cross
had brought


                                       Mary's word
helped these hapless hearts
hid in the Cenacle this herd
of fear groping for parts
they should discover
in His Way-she alone
the living link with Lover
lost and heaven gone.


She was their chain to life
His and now their Mother
with them waiting: wife
to their tears another
hope a vessel sweet
and brimming with His Grace
Bride of the Paraclete
most favored of our race.


With the fear that loss created
after He their life ascended
with His Mother there they

        waited
till the Fire of Grace descended.

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JULY

When God's mercy, Mary's self
had sublimated,
she, in woman's joy, resolved
to share with her most close re-

        lated
this secret, sweet delight.


Light the journey seemed,
though waited
brambling hands to hold her way
across the hilled
and barren waste, where rock

        dissolved
into a desolated,
dreary mist of heat.


Then journeying complete,
the meeting came.
A fair bouquet
of flowering kindred's love dis-

        tilled
a fragrant company in air


The happy pair
embraced. Elizabeth adored
and felt the signs of heaven

        everywhere
as Mary's words arose to mag-

        nify the Lord.

 

 

AUGUST

She went not with excess of grief
that tarnished souls receive
but in the quiet that Love's
delivery can leave
as fragrance in the empty air
like phantom scents are there
when flowers are broken-crushed
as memory's sad heir


        O there it was she lay
        Upon the blossoms' bed
        But gone all life and form
        All past-thought solace fled
        And only memories stay


This was the second birth
a new Nativity
all miracle was there
where time and eternity
were joined. Her Son's will

          raised
her, Heaven-Born, anew
in mystery and power
and mortal clutchings overthrew


        O there it was she lay
        Upon the blossoms' bed
        But now all life and form
        In God's desire has sped
        Towards Eternal Home
.

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SEPTEMBER

The Sword of loss would pierce

        her heart
    Was Blessed Simeon's word
And where the joy the Birth

        had brought
    Was first by sorrow seared


An ailing ruler's rage had

        coursed
    Her life with fear and flung
Her joy among a strange-

         tongued folk
    To hear her sorrow sung


The Boy was lost in the city's

        crowd
    And found in His Father's

        House
The sword of loss cut in her

        heart
    The image of a cross


When in the streets she met her

        Son
    Their stones were smeared

        with Blood
And on His back the felon's

        scourge
    And on His neck the wood.


Upon Golgotha's awful mound
    Beneath the Throne of Pain
She saw the mortal Heart of God
    Receive Its mortal chain


And then a Corpse from gallow's

        clutch
    And laid upon her heart
She held the final time her Son
    And knew the loser's part


Dead swaddled in the clothes of

        dust
    Her Babe and in the vault
The long felt thrusting of her

        loss
    Had made its last assault


Ah still was sorrow's thieving

        mob
    And envy's lusting horde
The Mother's pain-dregged eyes

        were dry
    And sheathed the piercing

        sword
 

OCTOBER

My heart has uttered a goodly

       theme
    I speak your works to the King
What finer song than praise of

        you
    Could any poet sing


Your beauty budded as a rose
    By the side of a running

        stream
And sheds its fragrant petals

        pure
    Upon the water's gleam


And flows the sweet'ning flower-

        drenched flood
    Through many drought-filled lands
From Carmel's hills by many

        years
    To lap Lepanto's sands


Of all the flowers to bless the

        earth
    The fifteen-petalled rose
Has scented more the work of

        man
    Than any bud he knows


Its scent has blown on hills of

        Lourdes
    And sweetened Fatima's plains
Its gifts have bathed our griefs

        and fears
    As perfumed soothing rains


Oh let your flower have petals of

        grace
    And praise to Heaven sing
Oh your heart has uttered a

        goodly theme
    And speaks your works to the

         King.

 

 

 

 

 

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NOVEMBER

A shy and precious maid was

        brought
Into the temple's pillared court
And offered to the Lord All High
To serve and praise and testify

    To the Light of God
   

Among the servant maids of God
She came to give her virginhood
Our promised Treasury of Grace
His words and service to embrace

    To the Light of God


Now whispered voices from afar
Were singing oft an olden air
And sounding sweet the music

        sharp
From ancient concord of a harp

    To the Light of God


The words of hope Isaiah spoke
The music David's harp strings

        woke
Each song of joy the prophets

         knew
Here chimed and rolled its words anew

    To the Light of God


Sung there now these years'

        elation
Of a maiden's presentation
Sing we still how Mary came
The promised Bride and still

        acclaim
    To the Light of God.

DECEMBER

The gentle hands of night em-

        brace
Your Baby's head in sleep
Its sweet caressing fingers
His tender lashes sweep
    His lips with smiles
    Now dreams bestrew

    So sleep you too

Ah see where Joseph stands to

        watch
So near the baby's side
And there within the work-weft

        hand
The little fingers hide
    This his to do
    To guard His rest

    So sleep you too

There now the angel guards
        appear
And here the shepherds stand
And sweet and glad the song

        they sing
That God is in their land
    They vigil keep
    To see His smiles

So you too sleep

Ah Christ is born at Bethlehem
A Child is sleeping there
And Mary smiles at Bethlehem
Her son is sleeping there
    And dreams bestrew
    His lips with smiles

    And she sleeps too.

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