Tag Archives: Catholic Poetry

The Wild Ride by Louise Imogen Guiney

Image result for the wild ride by louise imogen guiney

The Wild Ride

by Louise Imogen Guiney

I hear in my heart, I hear in its ominous pulses,
All day, on the road, the hoofs of invisible horses,
All night, from their stalls, the importunate pawing and neighing.

Let cowards and laggards fall back! But alert to the saddle
Weatherworn and abreast, go men of our galloping legion,
With a stirrup-cup each to the lily of women that loves him.

The trail is through dolor and dread, over crags and morasses;
There are shapes by the way, there are things that appal or entice us:
What odds? We are Knights of the Grail, we are vowed to the riding.

Thought’s self is a vanishing wing, and joy is a cobweb,
And friendship a flower in the dust, and glory a sunbeam:
Not here is our prize, nor, alas! after these our pursuing.

A dipping of plumes, a tear, a shake of the bridle,
A passing salute to this world and her pitiful beauty;
We hurry with never a word in the track of our fathers.

I hear in my heart, I hear in its ominous pulses,
All day, on the road, the hoofs of invisible horses,
All night, from their stalls, the importunate pawing and neighing.

We spur to a land of no name, outracing the storm-wind;
We leap to the infinite dark like sparks from the anvil.
Thou leadest, O God! All’s well with Thy troopers that follow.

Advertisements

Borderlands by Louise Imogen Guiney

Image result for Borderlands by Louise Imogen Guiney

Borderlands

by Louise Imogen Guiney

Through all the evening,
All the virginal long evening,
Down the blossomed aisle of April it is dread to walk alone;
For there the intangible is nigh, the lost is ever-during;
And who would suffer again beneath a too divine alluring,
Keen as the ancient drift of sleep on dying faces blown?

Yet in the valley,
At a turn of the orchard alley,
When a wild aroma touched me in the moist and moveless air,
Like breath indeed from out Thee, or as airy vesture round
Thee,
Then was it I went faintly, for fear I had nearly found Thee,
O Hidden, O Perfect, O Desired! O first and final Fair!

Prayer to the Virgin of Chartres by Henry Adams

Image result for Prayer to the Virgin of Chartres

Prayer to the Virgin of Chartres

by Henry Adams

Gracious Lady:–

Simple as when I asked your aid before;
Humble as when I prayed for grace in vain
Seven hundred years ago; weak, weary, sore
In heart and hope, I ask your help again.

You, who remember all, remember me;
An English scholar of a Norman name,
I was a thousand who then crossed the sea
To wrangle in the Paris schools for fame.

When your Byzantine portal was still young
I prayed there with my master Abailard;
When Ave Maris Stella was first sung,
I helped to sing it here with Saint Bernard.

When Blanche set up your gorgeous Rose of France
I stood among the servants of the Queen;
And when Saint Louis made his penitence,
I followed barefoot where the King had been.

For centuries I brought you all my cares,
And vexed you with the murmurs of a child;
You heard the tedious burden of my prayers;
You could not grant them, but at least you smiled

If then I left you, it was not my crime,
Or if a crime, it was not mine alone.
All children wander with the truant Time.
Pardon me too! You pardoned once your Son!

For He said to you:–“Wist ye not that I
Must be about my Father’s business?” So,
Seeking his Father he pursued his way
Straight to the Cross towards which we all must go.

So I too wandered off among the host
That racked the earth to find the father’s clue.
I did not find the Father, but I lost
What now I value more, the Mother,–You!

I thought the fault was yours that foiled my search;
I turned and broke your image on its throne,
Cast down my idol, and resumed my march
To claim the father’s empire for my own.

Crossing the hostile sea, our greedy band
Saw rising hills and forests in the blue;
Our father’s kingdom in the promised land!
–We seized it, and dethroned the father too.

And now we are the Father, with our brood,
Ruling the Infinite, not Three but One;
We made our world and saw that it was good;
Ourselves we worship, and we have no Son.

Yet we have Gods, for even our strong nerve
Falters before the Energy we own.
Which shall be master? Which of us shall serve?
Which wears the fetters? Which shall bear the crown?

Brave though we be, we dread to face the Sphinx,
Or answer the old riddle she still asks.
Strong as we are, our reckless courage shrinks
To look beyond the piece-work of our tasks.

But when we must, we pray, as in the past
Before the Cross on which your Son was nailed.
Listen, dear lady! You shall hear the last
Of the strange prayers Humanity has wailed.

THE AMERICAN FLAG by Fr. Charles Constantine Pise

20140702-161520.jpg

THE AMERICAN FLAG

This poem was written by the accomplished Rev. Charles Constantine Pise, the only Catholic priest who ever had the distinction of being chaplain to the United States Senate. He held the office with credit and dignity from 1830 to 1833. The poem was written during the exciting times of Knownothingism that preceded the Civil War, when Catholics were on all sides accused of being enemies of the Government. It is said that it was inspired by the flag waving from the national capitol, as the author saw it while walking up Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.

They say I do not love thee,

Flag of my native land;

Whose meteor folds above me,

To the free breeze expand;

Thy broad stripes proudly streaming,

And thy stars so brightly gleaming.

They say I would forsake thee,

Should some dark crisis lower;

That, recreant, I should make thee

Crouch to a foreign power;

Seduced by license ample,

On thee, best flag, to trample.

They say that bolts of thunder,

Cast in the forge of Rome,

May rise and bring thee under,

Flag of my native home,

And with one blow dissever

My heart from thee forever.

False are the words they utter,

Ungenerous their brand;

And rash the oaths they mutter,

Flag of my native land;

Whilst still, in hope above me,

Thou wavest—and I love thee!

God is my love’s first duty,

To Whose Eternal Name

Be praise for all thy beauty,

Thy grandeur and thy fame;

But ever have I reckoned

Thine, native flag, my second.

Woe to the foe or the stranger,

Whose sacrilegious hand

Would touch thee, or endanger,

Flag of my native land!

Though some would fain discard thee,

Mine should be raised to guard thee.

Then wave, thou first of banners!

And in thy gentle shade

Let all opinions, manners,

Promiscuously be laid,

And there, all discord ended,

Our hearts and souls be blended!

Stream on, stream on, before us,

Thou labarum of light,

While in one generous chorus

Our vows to thee we plight;

Unfaithful to thee—never !

My native land forever!

May Magnificat by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Image result for May Magnificat Poem

May Magnificat

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

May is Mary’s month, and I
Muse at that and wonder why:
Her feasts follow reason,
Dated due to season—

Candlemas, Lady Day;
But the Lady Month, May,
Why fasten that upon her,
With a feasting in her honour?

Is it only its being brighter
Than the most are must delight her?
Is it opportunest
And flowers finds soonest?

Ask of her, the mighty mother:
Her reply puts this other
Question: What is Spring?—
Growth in every thing—

Flesh and fleece, fur and feather,
Grass and greenworld all together;
Star-eyed strawberry-breasted
Throstle above her nested

Cluster of bugle blue eggs thin
Forms and warms the life within;
And bird and blossom swell
In sod or sheath or shell.

All things rising, all things sizing
Mary sees, sympathising
With that world of good,
Nature’s motherhood.

Their magnifying of each its kind
With delight calls to mind
How she did in her stored
Magnify the Lord.

Well but there was more than this:
Spring’s universal bliss
Much, had much to say
To offering Mary May.

When drop-of-blood-and-foam-dapple
Bloom lights the orchard-apple
And thicket and thorp are merry
With silver-surfed cherry

And azuring-over greybell makes
Wood banks and brakes wash wet like lakes
And magic cuckoocall
Caps, clears, and clinches all—

This ecstasy all through mothering earth
Tells Mary her mirth till Christ’s birth
To remember and exultation
In God who was her salvation.

Quatrains by John Bannister Tabb

Image result for helplessness by john bannister tabb

Father Damien

O God, the cleanest offering
Of tainted earth below,
Unblushing to thy feet we bring—
“A leper white as snow!

 

Deep Unto Deep

Where limpid waters lie between,
There only heaven to heaven is seen:
Where flows the tide of mutual tears
There only heart to heart appears.

The Assumption

Nor Bethlehem nor Nazareth
Apart from Mary’s care;
Nor heaven itself a home for Him
Were not His mother there.

Helplessness 

In patience as in labour must thou be
A follower of Me,
Whose hands & feet, when most I wrought for thee,
Were nailed unto a tree.

Inversnaid

Image result for what would the world be, once bereft of wet and wilderness by gerard manley hopkins

Inversnaid

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

This darksome burn, horseback brown,
His rollrock highroad roaring down,
In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam
Flutes and low to the lake falls home.

A windpuff-bonnet of fáwn-fróth
Turns and twindles over the broth
Of a pool so pitchblack, féll-frówning,
It rounds and rounds Despair to drowning.

Degged with dew, dappled with dew
Are the groins of the braes that the brook treads through,
Wiry heathpacks, flitches of fern,
And the beadbonny ash that sits over the burn.

What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.