Sister Andrew-John, OBJN

Walking the Dog

What ancient memory lives
in this brain--small
by human standards--but
able to recall and
put in action instincts
that ordain a preference
for smell of sodden.
rotting leaves, newly emerged
from the melting snow,
and now collected with
cigarette ends and Kleenex
against the chain link fence--
the memory or centuries
of promised Springs hidden
in the primordial mulch.

Copyright © by Sister Andrew-John

Vermont Autumn

As fiery red and yellow beings dance,
- their frocks, glittering in October air
are part of them; -not something that a glance
in mirror-water tells them they should wear.
Their audience--tall ones in changeless green--
applaud them only with their whispered praise
and gentle inclinations as they lean
their towering heads in ever-loving gaze.

For dancers who depend on gold and red,
November sees their clothing losing fast
its brilliant color. Then are garments shed
and movement stilled 'til all are gone at last.
Oh! Verde Monte--name that lets us see
that green's the color of eternity.

Copyright © by Sister Andrew-John

On John Donne

How can John Donne, long dead, give me today
the words I need to pray? And can't I see
with my own eyes the "great unnumbered Three?"
Surely my love must teach me what to say,
though my "devout fits come and go" the way
his did. And can I not aspire to be--
though earthbound--by my eloquence set free
"to see more in the clouds" by what I pray?

So in those moments when I feel Christ's hand
on me and am left breathless by His touch, I start
to look for words of thanks--pious, but grand
and "seeking secrets" to set me apart.
Then would I soar But I can only stand
and pray, "O be Thou nailed unto my heart!"

Copyright © by Sister Andrew-John

New Hampshire Coast

Just try to drink your fill,
greedy shore with stony
teeth clenched. No blue
Pacific slides into your mouth,
no white sand's silken throat
to make your thirst easy
to slake. Just cold,
cold gray assaults you,
unpalatable, so you've no
choice but to spit it
out and stand drying
in the icy sun.

Copyright © by Sister Andrew-John

The Letter

He carries it, just opened, to the table,
it lies with tops of pen strokes peeking out.
Is it dessert? But no, he picks it up
and tucks it in the cincture of his habit
and goes outdoors to poke around in soil
empty and waiting for his April toil.

A pile of stones is there, arranged by him
for sitting. It's not an easy chair,
and yet the best place to relax in summer
and pray, or Just to watch the garden grow.
Today I see him sit; a cold March breeze
flutters the pages opened on his knees.

Copyright © by Sister Andrew-John

The Old House

I look at it, not seen these fifty years.
The mountain's taller than I saw it then;
the house so small I cannot quite believe
that six of us lived there. Weeds own it now,
and trees from deep woods creep out, slender, tall
sentinels to guard the prison I recall.

I shudder at remembered pain, and try
to find the little windowed, attic room
where I had felt so safe. I wonder now
if there was ever such a room, or did
I build its very walls within my mind,
a place that no one else could ever find.

Fifty long years! How can I reconcile
what was with what I see before me now?
The roof beam sags, the windows are long gone,
the front door, fallen, leaves a gaping hole
that looks on darkness. Darkness that I know
left no escape those many years.

Copyright © by Sister Andrew-John

Special Olympics

His misshapen body, held
in wheeled confinement,
hasn't felt nor ever will
the self-made wind, the
pounding feet and churning arms; the gasp
of pleased exhaustion
when the race is won

His twisted mouth, the spastic
muscles of his throat
haven't known nor ever will
the triumphant shout.

But there is freedom in wheels,
and triumph in wheels;
and a self-ignited flame that
hasn't yet nor ever will
go out. Look in his eyes!

Copyright © by Sister Andrew-John

The Restroom

She slipped in Just as someone else was leaving
, she knew they wouldn’t let her use the key.
and looked around with pleasure at a room
so clean and fancy--a delight. to see.

A basket of dried flowers on the tank
gave off the fragrance of a summer's day.
She held them to her face, breathed 1n, and saw
a childhood's field, a carefree girl at play

Taking no time for conscience to intrude,
she scooped the petals in worn hands closed tight
and stuffed them 1n the pockets of her coat,
then left the room with glances left and right.

That night her park bench had a special pillow
made of her coat rolled up beneath her head.
The fragrance circled round about her dreams;
she slept upon a perfumed, silken bed.

Copyright © by Sister Andrew-John

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