Marian Poetry in Ordinary Time (2003)

In the cycle of the Liturgical calendar, Ordinary Time refers to the days of the year that are not Advent, Christmas, Lent, or Easter. Ordinary Time is the longest period of the year. The term "ordinary" should not be viewed as the opposite of special or "extraordinary," rather it is that time which is ordained for the everyday living of the Christian life. This becomes clearer in the Latin title, tempus ordinarium, which means "measured time." For the Church, all of Ordinary Time is "ordained for" the purpose of sanctifying the everyday life of Christians. It helps prepare us for the other liturgical seasons of the Church year. There are two distinct periods in Ordinary Time. The first is the five to eight weeks between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday. The second is the twenty-three to twenty-seven weeks following the feast of Pentecost and concluding with the Solemnity of Christ the King. The liturgical color for days in Ordinary Time is green.

In this collection of Marian poetry, we shall look at those Marian aspects which pertain to the daily vocation of the Christian life. Overall, one will find that many of these poems are a little more general or abstract, while many others pertain to devotions or extra-liturgical prayers such as the angelus and rosary. We should also note that "Ordinary Time" gives us the chance to focus more attention on some Marian themes that one might regard as somewhat tangential to the other Liturgical seasons. Consider the theme of the cultivation of leisure, which Mary helps to sanctify in the poem "Our Lady of Vacation." As another example, consider the theme of social justice, which we address in the poem about Our Lady's care for the poor titled "Home of the Homeless." A third example is the poem "To Mary, Queen of Peace" which expresses Our Lady's compassion for those burdened by war and violence. In general, our objective for this poetry installment is to show the reader that in Ordinary Time, one can find many pious and inspirational reasons to celebrate Our Lady's Beauty and goodness through reading Marian poetry.

Marian Images: In this collection of poetry, we have included sixteen classic Madonna and Child stamp image postcards. This series of postcards was printed in 1998 by the United States Postal Service. All of the images are copies provided by the National Gallery of Art located in Washington, D.C.

Index of Ordinary Time Poetry

Our Lady of Vacation

Sweet Lady of Vacation Days
O hearken to my plea -
Where ever I roam in leisure's ways
Protect and shelter me !
May virtue's robe which now is mine
Unspotted ever remain;
Make of my heart a cloistered shrine,
And keep it free from stain.
May all my hours be filled with joy
As yours in ancient days
When visiting Elizabeth.
Your heart hymned songs of praise.

May each vacation be for me
As your own Visitation -
And each new one more holy be
Dear Lady of Vacation.
O Lady, good and true and kind
When pleasure's haunts I tread,
May I be deaf and dumb and blind
To sin and tempters dread -
To when at length life's day is done,
I too may hope to spend
My days with you and your Son -
A vacation without end.

J.A. Williams
Croarkin, Walter E. Our Lady in Poetry: An Anthology. Chicago: John Maher Printing Company, 1940.


Raphael (1483-1520) The Small Cowper Madonna, c.1505 oil on panel. National Gallery of Art, Washington

Thinking of Mary

I think so often of Mary -
Mary, the mother glad,
Who lived in the Nazareth cottage
When Christ was a little lad.

I think of her in the morning
As she put on his little frock
And brushed the curls of his forehead,
Smoothing each shining lock,
And heard him speak with reverence
A little sunrise prayer
With a look of childlike wonder
Upon his face, so fair.

When Joseph had gone to the workshop
The cottage made trim and neat,
And Jesus played with the children
Who lived across the street,
I think the sound of music
Was the echo of his voice,
Which sent her pulses thrilling
And made her heart rejoice.

And when He brought his bruises
For her to touch and kiss
And she smiled away his troubles
With all a mother's bliss -
I think that over her spirit
Stole a promise of endless rest
As she 'magnified the Father'
Who had given her his best.

Then, when the shadows deepened
And the Child, now tired of play,
Rested his head on her bosom
At the close of a weary day,
As she taught him a psalm of praises
And mused on prophecies dear,
I think that the song of angels
Fell on her listening ear.

So I think often of Mary -
Mary, the mother glad,
Who lived in the Nazareth cottage
Where Christ was a little lad.

Nettie King
Croarkin, Walter E. Our Lady in Poetry: An Anthology. John Maher Printing Company, 1940.

Mother of the People of God and Their Beautiful City

Who is this beautiful city so masterfully adorned,
with whom God has penetrated our lowly earth?
How humbly laid but golden - glowing are her streets,
how mirrory of truth her sheer marbled towers!
Fountains of sweet waters continuously rain
like silver willows of wisdom in her midst -
lights ballet like spirits of bright joy
in and out their shifting mists.

Laced balconies of many mansions mount, as steps,
stretch high, round about her in bands of arabesques.
Cool courts of refreshment are chaliced in her,
opening from lovely entrances built - for only
the strong to swing - of bronze and silver gates.
Her lawns are sunshine-green for children's frolic,
her streets a kaleidoscopically-treed with virtuous deeds.
She wears a thousand pleasant parks; and here and
there, afire like islands of coral beauty,
ovals of love's red, red roses rise.

Platinum-and -crystal arches sparkle and end
her avenues, as with heroes challenge and award.
Her boulevards of sunken gardens lie like camouflaged
canals holding rich secrets, their coverlets
made of tropical birds and Eden's exotic flowers -
like acts of kindness their colors make the pulse dance,
their green borders are as peace to the soul.
All her walls gem with rainbow-splendored jewels,
miniaturizing her valiant women and valiant men;
diamonds are princely there, tiny scintillating suns.

The laughter of her children spills like crystals
tumbling and tinkling down her streets, sounds like
spring sounds, fresh and innocent, happy and new.
The peace of venerable patriarchs abides in her.
Her men and maids are in full blossom, comely and
of mature strength; and in their conduct all is pure.
Soft light falls on the city everywhere, heals all cares.
Pleasant streams murmur as liquid music through her;
the people look at the cool waters flowing under,
watching from little stone-arching bridges where
the waters of God have come to meet with mankind.

There is joy in the city, there is love,
there is humility permeating it, composing all;
yet it is supremely queenly and full of gracious charm.
There is childlike simplicity .... and high regal majesty,
She is a city in full possession and tranquility.
What is this most amiable City of Peace?
The son of God once knew her beauty, walked her ways:
It is his Mother, the Beautiful City, it is
the Mother of all, it is His members, the People of God,
the Church; it is the spotless, fair Mother-Maid.

Albert Joseph Hebert, S.M.
Mary, Our Blessed Lady
New York: Exposition Press, 1970.


Antonello da Messina (c. 1430-1479). Madonna and Child, c. 1475, oil on panel. National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Color Fantasy for Mary

"Colors, hear! Our Blessed Mother Mary walks this way today!"

All the colors that God made, come you and assemble!
All the colors that God made: brown, and red, and russet;
All the colors sunlight holds, come you and assemble.
Blue and green, aquamarine, ruby, rose and cardinal,
All the colors sunset knows, all the colors autumn blows,
All the colors in the rainbow's bent, come you and assemble.
Pink and purple, turquoise blue, scarlet, tan and silver,
Pomegranate, peach, plum, and wine, come you and assemble,
For our Blessed Lady Mary walks this way today,

Heaven's earthborn queen, and earth's most heavenly belle.
All you colors of the flowers fair, from the birds and bowers,
From the morn and evening woods, from the moon's most magic
All you colors make ensemble, come you and assemble.
Lemon, chrome, golden yellow, hyacinth, hollyhock, and henna;
Colors of male and female birds and the painted desert's splendor.
Moss, mulberry, violet, Dresden, emerald, and mauvette,
Tumble out all of you, dress-up, for you shall be so well-met;
A star-gowned mother-maid comes this way - come you and
Colors where the sunbowl fills, colors where the paint-spot spills,
On the seas or on the hills, come you and assemble.
Cocoa, coral, cobalt blue, cerise, cherry, claret,
Dahlia, lilac, tawny yellow, teak brown, tile red, mallow;
Deep-immense ocean hues, surface-thin pebbled shallows.
Yew green, sky-blue, orange and olive, come you and assemble.
The Virgin mild and monarch comes; O colors, praise her,
With bursts of moons and the peacock's prism-sundering feathers.

Colors come that sleep in fire, windows under Gothic spire,
Where the furthest stars aspire, come you and assemble.
Topaz, plum, Persian blue, orchid, and English vermilion,
Amethyst, star-gold, sapphire, opal, come you and assemble.

Carmine, crimson, opera pink, myrtle, maroon, magenta;
Whirlpools of mixed colors come, valleys strewn with astral jewels,
Orange-red, goya, jonquil yellow, heliotrope, lavender and
Wisteria, Grecian blue, sea-green, beryl, come you and assemble.
That lady comes, for love of whom the gold-winged angels

All you colors not yet called, center! Come you and assemble.
Colors domiciled far beyond this world, come you and assemble.
Martian reds, galactic-golds and the deep, blue-solar-cauldrons;
Come you colors one and all, blend harmoniously, enthrall,
Colors delicate and small, colors royally tall, come you and
Move in mystic patterns, circle! Ballet to color-movement music!
Parade in ordered places; kneel as wave on wave from color-
For now Our Lady, God's great Mother walks this earthly way
And you, O Colors come, O Beauty, pay your varied hued
Sing the song your beauty is, praise, Her whom you mirror and
All you colors called from the palettes of the Lord, come you
and assemble! All you rainbow-worlds, come you and assemble.
Skyey-blue, earth-lawn green, autumn red, sunshine's golden
Lemon-moon, starry-gold, and the deep's each fluorescent fellow.
All you colors that God made, come you and assemble. Meet the
Queen of colors, of beauty and love, meet out heavenly Mother

Albert Joseph Hebert, S.M.
Mary, Our Blessed Lady
New York: Exposition Press, 1970.

Lady of the Ten Magnolias

I shall be coming to you, Lady Mary,
A pilgrim greeting mystic rendezvous,
A child enraptured in your sanctuary,
Saluting ten magnolia trees - and You!

It shall be when the Gulf Wind's reverent fingers
Caress your perfume-breathed, snow-budded trees,
And stars are bulging to a sun that lingers
The moon's swift candling on the twilight seas.
And when nocturnal splendor is inspiring
The mockingbird to his orchestral song,
I, too, shall feel the beautiful enfiring,
Shall lilt my joy where soft crepe myrtles throng.

Then shall my heart leap high in exultation,
'Ave Maria' thrilling southern air,
While fireflies from a golden scintillation -
Like notes from angel voices singing there.

Then shall respond the night's liturgic grandeur,
The priestly pageantry of moon and stars,
The incense tribute of the oleanders -
To praise when mortal music weeps its bars.

Then dream, Magnolia's Dream against the purple,
While night-wrought silver mingles with your green;
Preserve inviolate your ten tree circle -
And halo Her, O Moon, with softest sheen!

Of, we shall serenade you grandly, Mary,
With chorus raised by star-time melodies!
The cherubim will seek your sanctuary,
Dear Lady of the Ten Magnolia Trees.

Albert Joseph Hebert, S.M.
Mary, Our Blessed Lady
New York: Exposition Press, 1970.


Lodovico Carracci (1555-1619). The Dream of Saint Catherine of Alexandria , c. 1593, oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Images, Mary, Do Not Confess

Fair sails and high,
like linen white and full,
golden masts and a golden hull,
long rows of silver oars,
double-tiered, dipping water;
like a war galleon racing
out of Ancient Rome,
but a ship of peace instead -
Pax Romana? - painting
a great page of history.
But when they have gathered
all their strength, and are
plunging straight ahead,
of beauty and your name, Mary,
what shall silver-dipping oars
white sails and a ship of gold
whisper, or proclaim?

The high night at mid-course,
domed as a gargantuan purple bowl,
powdered and sprinkled with stars;
and above where the Milky Way runs
sprayed with even more multitudinous gold -
But how many have seen,
in their city-canyoned darkness,
the vast, serene and silent
splendor of a starry night,
to grasp the word it prints
in gold about a Queen as you,
Mary, or understand half-right?

Sea-swell, heaving, sighing,
mighty mystery as though
a universe were dying,
depths dumb with, yet
murmuring bitter sorrow -
but how many can tell
what they see of you today,
O Beautiful Woman or Sorrows,
much less learn of anguish
and agony coming tomorrow?

Oh, put the pieces together,
patines of gold, puzzle parts,
oars, stars and sea-roar,
white sails flying
and fickle world's weather -
none of them can praise you,
or tell what you are not,
or all of them together.
Better of me to confess,
Sweet Mother, high and blest,
these are no contrivers for you
as I am no maker of rhyme;
nor is the Queen of all creatures
sufficiently attended by all the courts
of that jet-fast day called Time.
So, Good Night, Mother Mary mine!

Albert Joseph Hebert, S.M.
Mary, Our Blessed Lady
New York: Exposition Press, 1970.

Our Lady

Our Lady is a field of cane,
With sweet things pledged for harvest won;
Is field of corn whose tassels are
A million tapers in the sun.

Our Lady is a mountain stream
That pours clear water on the plains,
In healing wealth for men and herbs -
In drought is coming of the rains.

Our Lady is a garden, fresh
Of scent, and budding every hue -
The humblest tints grow lovelier,
Our Lady robed in white and blue.

Our Lady's heart is awe to kings:
For seven swords that sink deep down -
And lest some little orb feel hurt
All stars are gathered in her crown.

Anointed grain Our Lady is,
And sacredness of chosen vine;
Wherever Mass makes dying bliss,
Is wheat for Bread, is grape for Wine.

Our Lady is a Litany -
And I have stumbled through a part.
Our Lady is a ladder raised
That men might reach a Broken Heart.

Albert Joseph Hebert, S.M.
Mary, Our Blessed Lady
New York: Exposition Press, 1970.


Giovanni Battista Moroni (c.1525-1578). A Gentleman in Adoration Before the Madonna , c. 1560, oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Mary - Field of Sugarcane

Our Lady is like
a field of sugarcane,
straight and tall, buoyant green,
sheathed of long, slender leaves
lithesome and slightly gold-mellow
in the Louisiana December sun.

She is as humble as the
great grass of the alluvial
soil that sugarcane really is,
but she is panicled like a princess;
and her stalks, though up-streaked
with poignant purple, are stout
with incredible tons of pure sweetness.

Albert Joseph Hebert, S.M.
Mary, Our Blessed Lady
New York: Exposition Press, 1970.

Our Lady = Laser Light

Our Lady, Laser Beam, incredible creature held
in Gods omnipotent hand, for help of deviant, unwise man;
pure straight-line, steady, truth's most leashed light,
love's billions more than surface-sun concentrated fire,
sure, unwavering, non-fanning beam, heaven-homing radar-ray.

Coherent, clear, no unsimple spectrum spread,
but narrow one-wave-only burning arrow-jet
that in a single photon-packed burst of focused fire,
with a needle point annealing heals smallest rent in eyes;
light that lures dark-lurking cancers of the soul
to absorbent ruin, fuses lips of lesions and wide wounds
unites, not rough-stitching but with a mother's gentle
hand and surgeon's high finesse; and with no scarring pain
erases demon-traced tatoos that mar God - consecrate limbs.

Humble, immaculate beam borne by peasant Bernadettes;
yet fiery-potent force that light-explodes gloom-visaged
serpents of evil; slender, sensitive finger probing
for uncoined gold hid deep within us; mercifully wise
lens in whose clear scrutiny we see, multi-dimensional,
known and secret faces unparalleled path-finder ray
spearheading balanced tunnel through mountains of rock-doubt
and tightly-tangled fears, into the open valleys of whole air.

Final, lucent tool in God's hand, cutting flawless-faceted
blue-brilliant Christ-diamonds, light sculptured souls of men,
Our Lady, Laser Light, inerrant, bright rod-road trajectory-less,
high-given guide-line, shortest-surest, pure light-fire path
flaming straight out, unfaltering, even to infinity .... to God.

Albert Joseph Hebert, S.M.
Mary, Our Blessed Lady
New York: Exposition Press, 1970.


Filippo Lippi (c. 1406-1469). Madonna and Child, 1444/1445, tempera on panel. National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Our Lady Through - Highway

Our Lady is the through-way:
there are no crossings and no lights;
She rises over other roads
as free as planes clear them in flight.

Our Lord himself her engineer
He built her beautiful and strong;
She needs no detours, has no flaws -
her road flows swift and smooth along.

Her shoulders stretch out wide and firm,
no curves unbanked, no screaming stops;
no signs that hide or read unclear,
no holes that throw, no fallen rocks.

No winding-road and narrow bridge,
no yellow-line of danger near,
but one way spread just through and through,
and parkways wide and green and clear.

Our Lady is the straight highway,
for all the way her way has right;
Hers is the route to hold to Home
and lovely lamps aglow at night.

Albert Joseph Hebert, S.M.
Mary, Our Blessed Lady
New York: Exposition Press, 1970.

All My Fountains

All my fountains rise in you,
O Beautiful City of Sion:
All the waters cool and soft and sweet
that nourish, make my heart with beauty beat,
my eyes with holy aspirations mount -
all have in you their blessed font.

At times they lift up, liquid in the Sun,
fall, scatter and in golden rivulets run;
how gorgeous in His warmth they shine,
and in His beauty rise, flower, fall,
rain down and majestically bow and decline -
Oh all my fountains are in you,
O Beautiful, Joyous City of Sion!

Again, platinum-plumed, your waters tower,
spread, fall, lower drop again, shoot-up,
climax in splendors of a sun-washed head,
poise, falter, then shot-through
with silver-filtered bits of light
down in showers splash again
all glorious and bright.
O Mother, sparkle, shimmer, shine
in living sheens, in light-tipped sprays,
where each celestial light-jewel plays;
lift, tower in tall strength
to His most sun-filled smile and fair caress,
O you my Queen decked in virginal loveliness!

O Vision Fair and musical in the mists,
calling as from a nobler world other where,
your fallen, smallest splash of waters come
is sweetest drench upon my tongue.
To music of your waters, Sion, Sion, Fair,
let my heart's harp be rapturously strung;
and to their joy-strong notes let life be flung;
Here let me nurse, Mother, Most beautiful
City of Sion! For I grow in strength,
I find escutcheons that engrave my soul
as I drink and worship at your waters.

Albert Joseph Hebert, S.M.
Mary, Our Blessed Lady
New York: Exposition Press, 1970.


Raphael (1483-1520). The Niccolini-Cowper Madonna, 1508, oil on panel. National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Mary - Fair Satellite

There are satellites now
like stars circling in the night sky.

Long ago Our Lady was the most soaring
and the most glorious of satellites,
that splendid Moon
who with fullest happiness spun
around her Son, and served Him
with faithful attendance and lovely countenance;
and with His light shone kindly on others.

Albert Joseph Hebert, S.M.
Mary, Our Blessed Lady
New York: Exposition Press, 1970.

Our Lady = Causeway

Our Lady is like an avenue flood-lit at night,
lawn-lined, wide center white, light-beautiful and bright,
coursing immaculate through dark shoulders of the night;
then rising, flowing up to be the bridge roadway
that slants across the lake as if in flight,
its rails twin lines of lamp-like diamonds
forward stretched, far and straight and white,
that cast a host of shining silver slivers
on waves and waters sweeping left and right;
then rising more, almost arching for the prows of boats
that pass below and trail wide wakes that flow
with fluorescent glow to cheer the passer-by at night;
then dipping down again, and flowing, flowing, arrowing,
immaculate route, unrolling causeway carpet of white light.

Albert Joseph Hebert, S.M.
Mary, Our Blessed Lady
New York: Exposition Press, 1970.


Giovanni Bellini (c. 1427-1516). Madonna and Child With Saints, c. 1490, oil on panel. National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Hymn of the Angelus

Sancta Maria! Turn thine eyes
Upon the sinner's sacrifice
Of fervent prayer, and humble love,
From thy holy throne above.
At morn, at noon, at twilight dim,
Maria, thou hast heard my hymn!
In joy and woe, in good and ill,
Mother of God, be with me still!
When the hours flew brightly by,
And not a cloud obscured the sky,
My soul, lest it should truant be,
Thy grace did guide to thine and thee;
Now, when the storms of fate overcast
Darkly my present and my past,
Let my future radiant shine
With sweet hopes of thee and thine.

Edgar Allen Poe
Walter E. Croarkin. Our Lady in Poetry: An Anthology.
Chicago: John Maher Company, 1940.

Beautiful the Memories of Mary

How beautiful must be the memory of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary!
How fair! How filled with incomparable and sublime riches!
How glorious the halls of her mind, how ordered in their loveliness;
how faithfully pictured in the mirrors of their corridors all her life
on earth,
her walks with God, the tender communings with him,
the varied scenes of all her graces, her actions and her virtues.

Here, where courtyards open, great fountains of golden grace
shoot up,
and shatter rainbows in all the prism-split hues of colored sprays
that the sundered-yet-resplendent-sun has made of them.
There, by the walks of its cloister-ways, once again some
of the humblest violets of her simple modest virtues bloom.
But over there on the cobbled paths, caught in the flash-flood,
or sweeping her down great and jagged canyons of anguish,
torrents of purple sorrows pour, floods of titanic grief
only the Mother of a Suffering God-Man could know and survive;
and still wonder in awe at them in her remembering.
And the flood waters pile up, frothing in certain places,
tossing, flailing her, as where Herod's hoofs thunder through
or where the soldier's hammer pounds at her heart
as they nail him to Calvary.

How rich, how varied the halls of the memory of Mary!
With what colossal canvases come from the hand of God,
with what stretched tapestries of time meeting eternity hung!
See that majestic river of her thoughts, white and ordered,
flowing through the jungles of our universal sin;
see it, from that first and primeval privilege pouring,
Mother of his Son, all beautiful in an immaculate conception;
see its ever-virginal crystal waters pure, simply because
God made her so, no memory of any spot, flotsam or jetsam
ever afloat
on that peerless stream, no least soiling of it, no mud to stir,
no fault of odor - only sweet! - in her sacred memory remains.

See her mind as one tremendous volume, all of whose leaves
are as perfect, and as unprinted by man, or by earth's
least smudging touch, as the world's first pristine snow
before a creature stirred, fresh before the eyes of God;
yet covered with the golden letters of a golden story
not even the cherubim and seraphim understand fully or know.
Look upon those leaves, that shining script of God, all God's,
and only God's, the flawless beautiful writing of the All-Holy One!
Read in her memory the mirroring record of the one and only time
He wrote in mere mortal man, fully, according to his plan:
Because all his will was hers, and all her will was his,
perfectly, unreservedly; look for the most beautiful tale ever
told that God in dust - though exalted so - chose to unfold,
but in dust that was gold, the life of his Mother, Mary.

No error anywhere, no erasure, no blemish on any page -
All because he knew she would say to him, artless, childlike:
Yes, Omnipotent God, write out my life, every moment as You wish.
And with complacent joy God wrote God-well and said:
Behold my most cherished handiwork, my delight, my signature,
this perfect - all I claim my very own, God-given glorious beginning,
heavenly journey through earth, full blossoming of fullness of grace
into my eternity - behold the life of my mother!

How beautiful must be the memories of the Mother of God!
Thoughts spotless, deeds blessed by the divine, all those precious
things dreamed of by him to be her memories,
sorrows purple, glories gold ..... how beautiful the mind
of the Mother of God, how beautiful all her memories.

Albert Joseph Hebert, S.M.
Mary, Our Blessed Lady
New York: Exposition Press, 1970.


Botticelli (1444-1445-1510). Madonna and Child, c.1470, tempera on panel. National Gallery of Art, Washington.

O Star of Galilee

O Star of Galilee,
Shining over earth's dark sea,
Shed thy glorious light on me.

Queen of clemency and love,
Be my advocate above,
And through Christ all sin remove.

When the angel called thee blest,
And with transports filled thy breast,
Thy high Lord became thy guest.

Earth's purest creature thou,
In the heavens exulting now,
With a halo round thy brow.

Beauty beams in every trace
Of the Virgin-Mother's face,
Full of glory and of grace -

A Beacon to the just,
To the sinner hope and trust,
Joy of the angel-host.

Ever-glorified, thy throne
Is where thy Blessed Son
Doth reign: through Him alone,

All pestilence shall cease,
And sin and strife decrease,
And the kingdom come of peace.

Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498)
Translated by R.R. Madden
Sr. M. Therese. I Sing of a Maiden.
New York: Macmillan Company, 1947.

Ballad of Our Lady

O Empress high, celestial Queen most rare,
Eternal Princess, Flower immaculate,
Our sovereign help when we to thee repair -
Hail, Rose intact; hail Maid inviolate,
That, with the Father, was predestinate
The Bairn and Maker of us all to bear,
Untouched with slightest soil of sinful state,
But, Virgin pure, more clear than crystal fair.

O blessed Rose, O Gem of chastity,
O Well of beauty, of all goodness Store,
O Way of bliss, Flower of virginity,
O Fount of truth, O Star ne'er darkened o'er -
Grant sinful me, who live in foulness sore,
To track the steps of perfect charity,
And to forsake my sins both less and more,
Aye serving him who shed his Blood for me.

O blessed Lady, of all goodness made,
Since all my hope and trust is in your grace,
By your high sweetness let your Son be prayed,
To grant me leisure ere I die, and space
From out my soul all foulness to erase;
And aye to live in virtue pure arrayed,
From out the fiend's close bondage and embrace -
Now, glorious Lady, of your goodness aid.

For e'en as Phoebus, with his beams so bright,
Illumines all this earth in longitude,
E'en so, your grace, your beauty and your might
Adorneth all this world in latitude;
Therefore to me ye show your gratitude
And your magnificence, that day and night
Your grace benign to me of life be food;
And save me from each foul malignant wight.

William Dunbar (1460-1520)
Modernized by E.M. Clerke
Sr. M. Therese. I Sing of a Maiden.
New York: Macmillan Company, 1947.


Sano di Pietro (1406-1481). Madonna and Child With Saints and Angels, c. 1471, tempera on panel. National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Our Lady of Space

Crowned Queen of Space so long a while gone by,
Since that far day when God's compelling love
Drew you at last from earth up the steep sky
To heights illimitable, far above,
High as the utmost heights of heaven are high.

Now man has ventured on that mighty main,
That shoreless sea of space, and soon may sail
With pride among the stars, until he gain
Worlds beyond starry worlds, and yet may fail
To find the Star whose light will never wane.

Clear Star that in more close-dimensioned years
Men hailed "Star of the Sea", be still the guide
Of all man's striving from this vale of tears;
For, he must suffer still, for all his pride,
When death shall strike him down amid the spheres.

Liam Brophy
Marian Era. Franciscan Herald Press, 1962.

Family Portrait

Our Lady is my fear,
Not my peace, -
Whose Father guards His dear
From release.

Our Lady is my queen,
Not my mother;
I gave her at fourteen
To an Other.

I gave her as a spouse
To a Third
Who made her womb a house
For a Word.

Our Lady is a star,
Is a well,
Too deep for me, too far,
Too terrible.

But she dashes down the air
When I lock with Lucifer
And she hauls me by the hair
Out of Hell!

Leonard Feeney
Sr. M. Therese. I Sing of a Maiden.
New York: Macmillan Company, 1947.


Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449-1494). Madonna and Child, c. 1470, tempera on panel. National Gallery of Art, Washington.

The Mysteries of the Rosary

I. The Annunciation

Fiat! Spoke God. And it was:
Light, and accessoried earth,
Oceans to roar of His might,
Small flowers shy love to confide
Of great Maker entrusting creation
To dangerous stewardship, ours.

Fiat! She said. And He was.
Lightly He burdened her womb
And sweetly, with weight of redemption
Coming of age in her breast.
Small Savior growing in secret
As plan of salvation takes form.

II. The Visitation

Fiat! Went forth God in man,
Shape and disguise only she
Knew by its stirring within her,
Giving God's unfinished limbs
Her own locomotion for greeting
Precursor of Him. And a song

Sung often (claims heart's exegesis)
To God, small glad captive in tent
Of flesh of her, love of her, going
Wherever she took Him, as even
His plan of salvation goes out
Wherever we bear it and birth it.

III. The Nativity

Fiat! No room in the inn
Nor in heart crowded with what
Leaves no provision for Him.
From the pure womb He comes forth,
In all pure love He takes form
With angels dispatched to announce it.

Make room in womb of my being,
Mary, God-bearer and giver,
Sweep out poor stable of me
To welcome my own birthing born
Of His birth from you. I know angels
Shall sing out anew at such wonder.

IV. The Presentation in the Temple

Fiat! On going with doves
In basket, and God on your arm,
Not dreaming of sword-talk or fall
And rise of the many. Dismiss
Now and forever the hope
Of any salvation unsworded.

Always there's shadow on sunlight,
Ever surprising's the sword
Held over happiest hour.
Thus God takes precaution on error.
Of heaven confounded with earth.
Poised on each hour's some sword.

V. The Finding in the Temple

Fiat! Not quickly speaks Mary
Who searching goes, weeping goes, begging
If any have seen Him her soul loves,
Till there in the Temple she finds Him
Where always He's found and forever
And where deeper Fiat! is minted.

Out from the House of my weeping
I go down the lanes of my life
Searching and seeking for meaning
Of all unpredicted, not measured,
Imagined or dreamed, never finding
Him save in the temple of me.

VI. The Agony in the Garden

Fiat! And here strikes its hour
Supreme, hear the chime of His heart
Striking accord with redemption,
Marking the hour now come
For slaying and saving, and raising
Forever the banner of hope.

Fiat! Alone makes beginning
From ending, of ending beginning.
In what silent secrecy did you
Deliver your heart fiat-riven,
O Mary, in new: Be it done!
According to His word, in you.

VII. The Scourging

Fiat! And Fiat! Each lowering
Lash flogs the innocent air
And innocent flesh that you wove Him
To wear for redeeming His world.
With perfect aim now does each lashing
Ribbon your targeted heart.

Shall I cry out at small scourges
Come to investigate me?
Withhold from a boulevard viewing
The secretest cells of the heart?
Jesu! Your hurt was made public.
Let me not for privacy press.

VIII. The Crowning With Thorns

Fiat! To nudging the brain
Of Monarch of worlds and of men
Go spikes of our incomprehension
Of love or of life that you gave Him.
O Mary! O Mary! What thorns
Tangle in torment your heart!

I'll have no thorny invasion
Beleaguer my privatest pain.
But you, Mother, are no intruder.
Who would not uncrown Him of spines,
Come and remove the dark splinters
That fester and fever my brain.

IX. The Carrying of the Cross

Fiat! He reached for it, took it
Up in His arms like a prize won
After long vigil of yearning.
Here were no angels to sing it,
Only your heart to declare it:
The hour! O Mary, it's only

With you I dare climb that dark mountain
And see what keeps happening there.
Where His arms reach out, your arms stretch
Out in love's freest compulsion.
Wondrous the long-echoed Fiat!
Toward Him or a Cross in your arms.

X. The Crucifixion

Fiat! There's no room on the Cross
For Him, if no room in the inn.
And room for a Mother beneath it
To give public birth to redemption.
Behold Him! Come forth from the anguished
Womb of your Fiat! O Mary,

Lay Him no more in a manger
Who's laid on the throne of your lap.
Flesh of you, love of you, resting
In life as in death on your: Yes!
Your great solo Fiat! - O may it
Make room for our small daily chorus?

XI. The Resurrection

Fiat! For always your faith knew
How it would end. Let the others
Go weep at the tomb you know empty.
As in His beginning, so Jesus
Come from your womb, now from tomb,
Looks with the eyes that you gave Him

Deep into the eyes He gave you.
Mary, God-bearer and giver,
No Scripture dares venture this hour,
No exegete study what's known
To you and Him only, and then all
Who gathered their Fiat! from yours.

XII. The Ascension

Fiat! Who could not begin
Without your love's industry working
Goes on alone to the Father
Who asked you the favor of life
For Son who'd been only eternal
Until you gave room for earth-dwelling.

Comes there a climax in: Fiat!
For us, too, when laboring's done
And faith celebrates the first sabbath
Of vision unending, when love
Ascends to the Father, whose Fiat!
Began us in womb of His love.

I. The Descent of the Holy Spirit

Fiat! There's room in this inn
Of huddled community, Mary,
For you and your telling of Jesus
Over and over again
Until there's a splitting of heavens
And fire comes and Spirit, and souls

Are drenched with the wine of that Fiat!
That suits men for martyrs. Is there
Space for us, too, in that upper
Room for us, too, in that upper
Room of your love where first Fiat!
Let God be Man, where first Firing
Of Spirit enkindled Redeemer?

XIV. The Assumption

Fiat! Spoke God, and you rose up,
As always, upon His command.
Mary, God-giver and bearer,
Borne up now and caught to His heart.
Dizzied the stars at your coming!
Gone-pedestalled moon for your feet!

Out of each Fiat! A rising
For prostrated heart. And a circlet
Of love from the hand of the Father
Loving his primeval Fiat!
Clear-echoed on heart-walls of creatures
And chorused by all His creation.

XV. The Coronation

Now worn
Like a Crown.

Mother Mary Francis P.C.C.
Summon Spirit's Cry: A Collection of Poems.
San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1996.

Hail, Full of Grace

In fullness is no static state of being
Nor yet suffices that container be
Enlarged for more grace by each grace's giving
Its whole return in love to graced design.

By more expansion of you, Mary, danger
Of overspill grows greater with each pouring
From zest of God's exuberant donation
Of grace where grace is fast absorbed and spent.

We come to save you, inundated Mother,
From floods of grace high rising in your soul.
Here with cupped hearts we kneel to beg a drenching.

Hail, Mary, full of grace, spill grace on us.

Mother Mary Francis P.C.C.
Summon Spirit's Cry: A Collection of Poems.
San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1996.


Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770). Madonna of the Goldfinch, c. 1767/1770, oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Queen of Craftsmen

Blow by exquisite blow,
The crystal hammers oh her love
Fasten the careful joinings of His bones.
Prophets have sung this craft: how men may number
These bones, but never break one of them.

What blueprint guides you, Queen of architects,
To trace sure paths for wandering veins
That run Redemption's wine?

Who dipped your brush, young artist, so to tint
The eyes and lips of God? Where did you learn
To spin such silk of hair, and expertly
Pull sinew, wind this Heart to tick our mercy?

Thrones, Powers fall down, worshipping your craft
Whom we, for want of better word, shall call
Most beautiful of all the sons of men.

Worker in motherhood, take our splintery songs
Who witness What you make, in litanies:
Oh, Queen of craftsmen, pray for us who wait.

Mother Mary Francis P.C.C.
Summon Spirit's Cry: A Collection of Poems.
San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1996.

Her Amazement at Her Only Child

Light piercing, gradually, everyday events;
a woman's eyes, hands
used to them since childhood.
Then brightness flared, too huge for simple days,
and hands clasped when the words lost their space.

In that little town, my son, where they knew us together,
you called me mother; but no one had eyes to see
the astounding events as they took place day by day.
Your life became the life of the poor
in your wish to be with them through the work of your hands.

I knew: the light that lingered in ordinary things,
like a spark sheltered under the skin of our days -
the light was you;
it did not come from me.

And I had more of you in that luminous silence
than I had of you as the fruit of my body, my blood.

Collected Poems.
Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II)

Translated by Jerry Peterkiewicz.
New York: Random House, 1982.


Gerard David (c. 1460-1523). The Rest on the Flight into Egypt, c.1510, oil on panel. National Gallery of Art, Washington.

First Moment of the Glorified Body

My place flows by in memory. The silence
of those distant streets does not pass away,
held up in space like glass which limpid eyes
break into sapphire and light. Nearest
are the child's words on which silence takes wing:
Mamma - mamma -
then silence falls again into the same streets,
an invisible bird.
There I have returned many a time to memories:
from which life overflows, surging from within
with unlikely meaning,
thought and emotion balanced
as if the scales were poised in pulsing blood
leaving silence undisturbed, attuned to breathing
thought and song.

Perhaps this is prayer, my Son, and these are simple days
already beyond their measure, flowing
into the pupils of my eyes, into my weightless blood.

These are simple days, my Son,
carried from those streets where silence stands
unveiling your childish voice.

How different your words now, heard from afar.
Lips once whispered them, now they reach
into my soul as thought alone, speech
simple, immediate.

Collected Poems.
Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II)

Translated by Jerry Peterkiewicz.
New York: Random House, 1982.

Mary - Likeness

Mary-like in soul and body!
Mary-like in mind and heart!
Mary-like in every action -
Child of God, how fair thou art!
Fair to Christ, and His angels,
Fair to earth where thou art seen
To be like her, like to Mary,
Earth's and Heaven's fairest Queen!

Mary-like in mind and memory!
Sinful thoughts and fancies flee;
Idle dreams and selfish musings
Find no place, God's child, in thee.
For the Mary-mind is lifted
From all sordid thoughts to live
On the high and noble promptings
That a Mary-soul would give.

Mary-like in thy affections
Loving all, excluding none -
Loving, as you think Our Lady
Ever faithful, would have done;
Mary-like in every action,
In enjoyment, work, or prayer;
Watching Mary, copying Mary,
Loving Mary, everywhere.

Night and day, in joy and sorrow,
Night and day, ‘neath crushing care,
Ask of Christ true Mary-likeness,
Through the year be thus thy prayer;
Christ will hear, and Christ will answer
If thy pleading but ring true -
"Jesus, make me just like Mary;
Mary, make me just like you."

Louis W. Bernicken.
George S. Brady. 1941
Mary in Song and in Prayer.
McLean, Virginia: George S. Brady Press, 1972.


Giotto (probably 1266-1337). Madonna and Child, probably 1320/1330, tempera on panel. National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Rosary Time in Ireland

At the fall of the night in Ireland, when spring in the
land is fair,
At the fall of the night in Ireland, when passionate
June is there,
When woods are ruddy in autumn or hoary with
winter's rime,
At the fall of the night in Ireland ‘tis Rosary Time.
With book and beads in her fingers The mother goes
to her place.
The holy candle beside her, the peace of God in her
And out of their chosen corners the voices of children
At the fall of the night in Ireland at Rosary Time.
Outside the song of the robin is hushed in his sheltered
The wind with rainy sweetness is singing itself to rest,
The world with her old-time longing swings low to a
minor rhyme;
At the fall of the night in Ireland at Rosary Time.
Oh, many a dream of beauty shines up from the
lowest sod,
And many a golden duty binds men to the feet of
But the sorest passion of living is stilled to a chord
At the fall of the night in Ireland at Rosary Time.

Teresa Brayton
Mary in Song and in Prayer.
McLean, Virginia: George S. Brady Press, 1972.


Sleepy days, lazy days,
Leafy woods and grassy ways,
Fruit in orchard, grain in field.
Firstlings of the garden yield.
Copper sun in azure sky,
Earth a welcome gives July.

Sunny days, golden days,
Evening dew and morning haze;
Freedom - all our fears beguile.
Lady of Mount Carmel .... smile.
Even war cannot deny
Benison of kind July.

Blessed days, gentle days,
Now we offer loyal praise;
Now we put our faith and trust
In the One, supreme and just,
Now we all our fears deny,
Blessings crown us in July.

Lalia Mitchell Thornton
Cyril Robert. Our Lady's Praise in Poetry.
Poughkeepsie, New York: Marist Press, 1944.


Florentine, fifteenth century. Madonna and Child, ca. 1425, terra cotta, painted and gilded. National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Home of the Homeless

Home of the homeless, O Mother of God,
Roses are blooming around thy feet,
Fragrant lilies thy mild eyes greet,
Let me dwell here, O Queen most sweet,
For where there art, there's holy sod.

Lay thy hands so soft and so white
On my cheeks now glowing in shame,
While in sorrow I whisper thy name,
Send me a spark of thy mother-love's flame,
Warm and brighten my bitter night.

Weary and footsore I come to thee:
Lonely I've been most every day
Since my wayward soul went astray...
Let me forever now near thee stay,
Home of the homeless, my mother be.

Frederick M. Lynk, S.V.D.
Cyril Robert. Our Lady's Praise in Poetry.
Poughkeepsie, New York: Marist Press, 1944.

To the Queen of Victory

So soulful never looked a woman's eye,
Nor so serene the bluest summer sky;
No brow revealed such deep humility
And yet bore such an air of victory.

So sweetly never sang a morning lark
When soaring heavenward from earth's green park;
No other voice could reach in ecstasy
Magnificat's high note of victory.

No human heart felt less sin's blighting sting,
Nor more the Spirit's overshadowing;
Her soul was like a pool of purity,
Her fairy hands held fairest victory.

Such regal power had no earthly queen,
Nor carried it with such angelic mien;
Her lienage was purest royalty,
And hers was also God's best victory.

Though I am now her humblest troubadour,
I know that heaven holds this blessed lure:
Enraptured I shall sit before thy knee,
And sing thy praise, sweet Queen of Victory.

Frederick M. Lynk, S.V.D.
Cyril Robert. Our Lady's Praise in Poetry.
Poughkeepsie, New York: Marist Press, 1944.


Andrea della Robbia (1435-1525). Madonna and Child with Cherubim, c. 1485, glazed terra cotta. National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Remain in His Love

When Christ, the Lord, had gone back to heaven,
The Twelve went spreading the gospel's leaven,
St. John alone in Judea stayed near
To tend to His mother so holy and dear.
One day our Lady said to him: "Son,
I wish they were here, so everyone
Could tell me how Jesus' work is faring,
And whether the world His love is sharing.

And lo! She had hardly spoken the word,
When a joyous sound from the twelve boats was heard;
Twelve men had reached Joppe's rocky port
And came to the city and Mary's court,
Before Christ's Mother they bent their knee:
"Behold twelve sons are greeting thee."

And Mary welcomed them, one and all;
They sat around her in John's wide hall
And feasting they told her with much detail
The work they had done since they set sail.
Of days of sorrow and joy they spoke
Of thousands who gladly bore Christ's yoke,
Of sowing and harvesting everywhere.
Of tragic failures and fruits most rare.

And Mary listened with sympathy,
Her slender white hand around her knee,
And said to Paul: "How zealous thou art,
The Master gave thee a glorious part.
And thou, dear Peter, must never despair,
Thy portion also was great and fair."
To all she spoke kindly words of cheer,
All felt as if Jesus Himself were near.

And Mary said with a lingering smile:
"I'll be with my Son in a little while,
But ere to my heavenly home I go,
On all my blessing I will bestow.
And this is my parting word to you:
Remain in His love! And then you shall do
Works greater than His, for so He quoth,
The mother and the Son will watch you; both
Shall aid and bless you, until you bear
In joy your sheaves' full golden share
Before the Father's white throne above:
Now go and remain in my Jesus' love."

Frederick M. Lynk, S.V.D.
Cyril Robert. Our Lady's Praise in Poetry.
Poughkeepsie, New York: Marist Press, 1944.


I am a wistful troubadour
Beneath high heaven's wall,
Watching for my Lady
Till from her casement tall,
Like a shaft of sunlight,
She lets her fair glance fall.

I am an eager troubadour
Beside high heaven's gate,
Listening for her footfall,
Happy just to wait
My Lady's radiant presence,
Comes she soon or late.

I am a joyous troubadour
Before the Ivory Tower,
Lost in my Lady's beauty,
Dreaming my Lady's power,
Until the lilied silence
Breaks at her feet - a flower.

Sr. Mary Philip, C.S.C.
Cyril Robert. Our Lady's Praise in Poetry.
Poughkeepsie, New York: Marist Press, 1944.


Giorgione (1477/1478-1510). The Adoration of the Shepherds, 1505/1510, oil on panel. National Gallery of Art, Washington.

To Mary, Queen of Peace

O Queen of Mothers! In their hour of need
Help these, our mothers wracked by grief and care;
Whose loving hearts are torn by hate and greed
And are left bleeding on life's cruel stair.

You who have known the greatest sacrifice,
And yet knew solace in your hour of pain,
Could see beyond the cross, to Paradise -
That this, your grief would not be borne in vain.

See how these human mothers stand in dread
As cannon roar, and death drops from the blue!
O place Thy hand in blessing on each head,
As hope and faith are all but lost to view!
Let them know peace of soul, and let each heart -
Though loved ones pass, and are not seen again -
Know that each son has played a noble part;
That peace will come; that truth is not in vain!

Samuel J. Allard
Cyril Robert. Our Lady's Praise in Poetry.
Poughkeepsie, New York: Marist Press, 1944.

The Virgin's Face

Upon thy fair maternal face,
Maria, let us gaze.
One look will lend its kindly grace
Unto our length of days.

The Light and Truth
Of Virgin youth
Make flowerhood there all-free;
While Counsel sage
Like Rock of Age,
Stands in that facial Sea.

There heaves the mother's weight of years,
Of years that knew not mirth;
But there's a joy beneath the tears
Outweighs the smiles of earth.

For while the ocean-depths of sorrow
Lie buried in thine eye,
Yet Crassus' riches could not borrow
Thy calm-of-ocean sigh.

Thus Evening worn
And Light of Morn
Make Twilight's resting-place
In lights combined
That seek and find
Composure in that face.
Thy cheek is mirror
Of Calvary's horror
Where blood laid Jesus low.
But sin dwells not,
Nor stain nor spot,
Upon thy brow of snow.

Maria, O Maria, place
Thy form and face
Upon our souls;
Oh, light our nature with thy grace,
Time with eternal Goals!

Clifford A. McLaughlin, S.J.
Cyril Robert. Our Lady's Praise in Poetry.
Poughkeepsie, New York: Marist Press, 1944.


Giovanni Battista Moroni (c.1525-1578). A Gentleman in Adoration Before the Madonna , c. 1560, oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington.

At the Gates of Eternity

Star beams may glimmer and gleam
Flowers may shimmer and glow,
Waters may flash till we almost deem
They are opal gems that we know,
Yet a single smile from Our Lady's eyes
Would turn bleak earth into paradise
And a bower of bliss for aye.

Sweet is the organ's peal
And a bird's clear martin song;
Charming the notes that softly steal
Through the hush of the night along;
Yet a word of Our Lady's lips would be
A sound so dear and sweet
Our ears would swoon with its melody,
And our hearts would lie at her feet.

Welcome the rest at eve
When the busy task is done;
Happy the victor to receive
Praise when his fight is won.
Yet three glad things of glad things all
My dying choice would be -
A word, a smile, and Our Lady's call
At the gates of eternity.

Cyril Robert. Our Lady's Praise in Poetry.
Poughkeepsie, New York: Marist Press, 1944.

Spouse of the Holy Spirit

As lily bloom in hidden vale,
Remote from worldly care and throng,
A virgin small, immaculate,
Glad spent her days along.
In Israel's Temple, her abode,
The maid her eyes to Heaven cast
Her longings to the Lord addressed
That He would come at last!

In childhood's candid waking age,
The little maid had come to guard
The beauty of her stainless soul
Within the House of God.
Close in its portals every day,
Her gentle lips made melody,
And sang the praise of David's lays
While Angels bent to see.

She sought to fill her finite mind
With wealth of knowledge; more than all,
To love the words of Holy Writ,
To bend her will at grace's call.
She spurned not duty, humble work,
That makes the worthy woman e'er,
She gave her girlish hands with joy
To tasks and household care.

Her soul was wholly God's alone,
It touched not more the things of earth
Than bees, the blushing queen of blooms
In days of August mirth.
Exempt from every trace of sin,
Doing all with pure intent,
She claimed to herself treasures rich...
God's gaze upon her bent.

And now, we find her there again,
Exemplar of the virtues blest;
The Trinity looks from on high
Upon her soul - the best!
Well is the Father pleased with her,
The Son of God regards with pride;
The Holy Spirit rapture finds
To linger at her side.

Again would He, ineffably,
With tender love and wondrous light,
With mildest counsel, dauntless strength,
Her chosen soul make bright.
For comes the moment when to save
The wayward sons of humankind,
A Son of virgin-mother born,
The trail to earth will find.

The virgin who will give to men
The Son of God a fragile lad,
Is Mary, child Immaculate -
But these are tidings glad!
O Mary, virgin, mother, maid,
You little know what dignity
Will be the fruit and recompense
Of your humility!

For very soon, O favoured one,
Your meekness will the Spirit lure
In mystic marriage-feast, unique,
Incomparably pure.
The Lord will overshadow you,
Illume your soul with countless rays,
When in your womb the Word made Flesh
Descends to mend our ways.

Dear little Lady, you will need
To leave your cherished cenacle,
Because such is the will of God,
To work the miracle.
While waiting, Mary, privileged,
Him magnify, His name extol;
One day to serve Him with your hand
Will be your blessed role!

Cyril Robert. Our Lady's Praise in Poetry.
Poughkeepsie, New York: Marist Press, 1944.


Antonello da Messina (c. 1430-1479). Madonna and Child, c. 1475, oil on panel. National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Rome Unvisited

The corn has turned from gray to red,
Since first my spirit wandered forth
From the drear cities of the north,
And to Italia's mountains fled.

And here I set my face toward home,
For all my pilgrimage is done,
Although, methinks, yon blood-red sun
Marshals the way to Holy Rome.

O Blessed Lady, who dost hold
Upon the seven hills thy reign!
O Mother without blot or stain,
Crowned with bright crowns of triple gold!

O Roma, Roma, at thy feet
I lay this barren gift of song!
For, ah, the way is steep and long
That leads unto thy sacred street.

Oscar Wilde
Cyril Robert. Our Lady's Praise in Poetry.
Poughkeepsie, New York: Marist Press, 1944.

The Convent Bells Are Ringing

Hark! The convent bells are ringing,
And the nuns are sweetly singing,
"Holy Virgin, hear our prayer";
See the novice comes to sever
Every worldly tie forever;
"Take, oh, take her to your care!"
Still radiant gems are shining,
Her jet-black locks entwining:
And her robes around her flowing
With sunny tint glowing,
But all her rays are dim;
"Splendors brighter
Now invite her,
While we chant our vesper hymn."

Now the lovely maid is kneeling,
With uplifted eyes appealing:
"Holy Virgin, hear our prayer,"
See, the abbess, bending o'er her,
Breathes the sacred vow before her
"Take, oh, take her to your care!"
Her form no more possesses
Those dark luxuriant tresses;
The solemn words are spoken,
Each earthly link is broken,
And all earthly joys are dim;
"Splendors brighter
Now invite her,
While we chant our vesper hymn."

Thomas Haynes Bayly
Cyril Robert. Our Lady's Praise in Poetry.
Poughkeepsie, New York: Marist Press, 1944.


Raphael (1483-1520) The Small Cowper Madonna, c.1505 oil on panel. National Gallery of Art, Washington

Come, New Sun! Son of Life's Mother ...

The days turn from darkness and brevity
to increasing life and light...
In Your arrival of Day, glory pierces scarcity
with love, comfort, and bright...
Two centuries into living gold Newness,
your mother came and showed...
Care, medallion on fountain blue dress,
Oval Sun in her Protection glowed ...
Angel Gabriel reminds us of breaking
in John, walking the new Way...
She, the temple now of God, always mother,
like the vision in Blachernae ...
Wrapping us in her red, life-giving veil,
... we, the body of her Son in life's vale,
... we, who no longer wail,
... we live, now and forever, in this stormy gale!

Virginia Kimball

To Our Lady

Lovely Lady dressed in blue
Teach me how to pray!
God was just your little Boy,
Tell me what to say!

Did you lift Him up, sometimes,
Gently, on your knee?
Did you sing to Him the way,
Mother does to me?

Did you hold His hand at night?
Did you ever try
Telling stories of the world?
O! And did He cry?

Do you really think He cares
If I tell Him things --
Little things that happen? And
Do the Angels' wings

Make a noise? And can He hear
Me if I speak low?
Does He understand me now?
Tell me--for you know?

Lovely Lady dressed in blue,
Teach me how to pray!
God was just your little Boy,
And you know the way.

Mary Dixon Thayer
The Child on His Knees
New York: The Macmillan Company, 1926

Joseph Mary Plunkett
by Wilfrid Meynell
(who signed simply Joseph P. to the 1916 declaration of the Irish republic)

Because you left her name unnamed,
Lest some should surely think it shamed,
I, with a bolder pen in rhyme,
Link Joseph Mary all the time.
I think, although you were not due,
She waited at the gate for you;
And wore a sweet celestial pout,
Because her name had been left out.
For this is very She who sings:
'The poor, God filleth with good things.'
And, Revel She, who dares to say:
'But empty sends the rich away.'

The Gentlest Lady
by Dorothy Parker

They say He was a serious child,
And quiet in His ways,
They say the gentlest lady smiled
To hear the neighbors' praise.
The coffers of her heart would close
Upon their smallest word.
Yet did they say, 'How tall He grows!'
They thought she had not heard.
They say upon His birthday eve
She'd rock Him to His rest
As if she could not have Him leave
The shelter of her breast.
The poor must go in bitter thrift,
The poor must give in pain,
But ever did she set a gift
To greet His day again.
They say she'd kiss the boy awake,
And hail Him gay and clear,
But oh, her heart was like to break
To count another year.

Last Antiphon: To Mary
by James J. Donohue

Dear Mother of the Savior, yet remaining
Star of the Sea and heaven's open door,
Come when we stumble, lifting and sustaining,
For in our hearts we long to rise once more.
You who, defying nature, still continue
Virgin before and after Gabriel's call,
You who, defying nature, wrought the sinew
Of Him Who mad you, pity on us who fall.
V. Eve's angel keeps a garden ringed with fire,
R. But Mary's angel answers Eve's desire.
Let us pray:

Pour, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the flood of Thy grace on our spirits,
That, as by an angel's voice we have known of Thy Son's Incarnation,
So by His Passion and Cross we may be led through to the glory
Of rising again from the dead: through the same Jesus Christ our Redeemer.

Lady of Letters
by Raymond F. Roseliep

Lady of Letters,
Laureate of the Word,
by reason of your flamed Magnificat,
your nine-month interlude
of weaving life
into the urgent God-ripe Word
that spurred the night's blue range with singing,
and spurred the centuries, too;
Lady of Letters,
Laureate of the Word,
as the young dawn whence leapt
the Star of perfect song.
Bear up our prayer.
Our souls, our minds, our senses vault
with longing
to unleash their own magnificats;
to pierce the essence of the churning earth,
the essence of men's churning hearts
with the untroubled music of the Word.
Lady of Letters,
Laureate of the Word,
send down your Spirit spouse
as branding fire
on every troubadour thus consecrate,
for choruses
that would seize virgin height
and incarnate raptly, once again,
the Word.

The Seven Seas
by Rudyard Kipling

If wrong we did to call them,
By honour bound they came;
Let not Thy Wrath befall them,
But deal to us the blame.

From panic, pride, and terror,
Revenge that knows no rein,
Light haste and lawless error,
Protect us yet again.

Cloak Thou our undeserving,
Make firm the shuddering breath,
In silence and unswerving
To taste Thy lesser death!

Mary pierced with sorrow,
Remember, reach and save
The soul that comes tomorrow
Before the God that gave!

Since each was born of woman,
For each at utter need-
True comrade and true foeman- 
Madonna, intercede !

E'en now their vanguard gathers,
E'en now we face the fray-
Thou didst help our fathers,
Help Thou our host today!

Fulfilled of signs and wonders,
In life, in death made clear-
Jehovah of the Thunders,
Lord God of Battles, hear! 

Sonnet for July Sixteenth
by Joachim Smet O.Carm

Beneath the dripping cross the soldier paused
In wonder at the work of Mary's hand;
The God she clothed with her own flesh had caused
No comment, but His cloak was in demand.
For only she could make a robe so fine--
Without a seam from top to bottom spun;
In all the length and breadth of Palestine
No man was clothed as well as Mary's Son.

Mother, I know that you remember still
The little human ways of making things,
And in the Father's home above, your skill
Fills with surprise those that are clothed like kings.
Sweet thought! This blessed day I stand arrayed
Like Jesus, in a cloak my Mother made!
(on the Brown Scapular)


by Barry LaFleur

Mary does the little things.
The little things of love that make all things possible.
Mary knows your needs and wants and when you mix them up.
She knows that knowing isn't everything.

But she wants you to know the peace of God that her Son only can bring.
She wants you to have everlasting joy.
The kind her Son so kindly brought and offered to the world.
Since Mary knows your heart, she goes to Jesus to fill your wine cup full.

She trusts you because she loves you and hopes you'll empty yourself
Before you drink so you'll be ever full.
How many times has Mary gone to fill your cup?
How many times has Mary knelt in fervor pleading for your soul?

Mary does the little things of love that make all things possible.
Mary listens with care and never judges.
She cries for you and with you.
And shames you not for your misdeeds and your lies.
She remembers you in your glory
And reminds you of your victories.
And of your finest triumph and always points you back to Jesus and to God.

Mary's always grateful when you remember her .
She knows your love for her is magnified for Christ.
She always sees your loving kindness to others and to God.
She helps return to you more than full measure of your love and guides you to graciousness.
Mary points you to the little comforts.

Like modesty and honesty and mercy and humility.
And Mary serves the tea.
Service to others is her tender way to teach the world,
Who moves to do, moves others too.
Her Son's work is done.

Mary changes bandages
And washes the bed bound ill.
She sits with every sick one and visits all the poor
He heals all those who imitate her.
The comforter is comforted.

Mary does the little things.
The little things of love that make all things possible.
She joins evenings with the lonely.
Urging they share with her their joy and tears
In deepest, fondest prayer .

She stands near all the worriers
And sings to us in dreams.
She lays hands on every pilot and driver .
Her footprints lighten yours
When you trudge in heavy labor
Or steady you in every fear,
From death to life's emergency, for self or someone dear.

When the tap is faint upon the door of Christ,
Mary also rises.
The Father trusted her with his own flesh and blood.

To honor her is to honor Him.
She wants us to do the little things.
The little things of love that make all things possible.
And to remember Him. (He loves us so.)

Antildeo Nuevo
   Emma-Margarita R. A.-Valdés
Con el tañido azul de las campanas
anunciamos el fin del Año Viejo,
desgranamos las uvas, la esperanza
de feliz y de próspero Año Nuevo.
Llenamos las estancias de alegría,
ahogamos en burbujas los recuerdos,
abrimos los portales a la vida,
bailamos hasta el último lucero.
Por el rojo perfil de horizonte
asoma el primer día, un sol de invierno
alumbra con sus pálidos fulgores
el paisaje escondido de los sueños.
¿Estará nuestra tierra prometida
bajo las nubes grises?. Trae el viento
arpegios de lejanas melodías,
gemidos de fantasmas agoreros.
En la ciudad dormida, la mañana
circula por las calles del misterio,
enmudeció la voz de las campanas
y entona su canción el universo.

Mother of God
by W.B. Yeats

The threefold terror of love; a fallen flare
Through the hollow of an ear;
Wings beating about the room;
The terror of all terrors that I bore
The Heavens in my womb.

Had I not found content among the shows
Every common woman knows,
Chimney corner, garden walk,
Or rocky cistern where we tread the clothes
And gather all the talk?

What is this flesh I purchased with my pains, 
This fallen star my milk sustains,
This love that makes my heart's blood stop
Or strikes a sudden chill into my bones
And bids my hair stand up?

An Evening in Galilee
by Thomas Hardy

She looks far west towards Carmel,
shading her eyes with her hand;
And she then looks east
to the Jordan, and the
smooth Tiberias' strand
Is my son mad?' she asks
and never an answer has she
Save from herself, aghast
at the possibility

O Mary of Graces
by Douglas Hyde

O Mary of graces and Mother of God,
May I tread in the paths that the
righteous have trod
And mayest thou save me
from evil's control,
And mayest thou save me
in body and soul.
And mayest thou save me
by land and by sea,
And mayest thou save me
from tortures to be.
May the guard of the angels
above me abide,
May God be before me
and God at my side.

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