A Little Book of Mary, Page 4


The following poem is one of great grief for a child that has died. It is a bit unconventional but we wanted to include it for mothers who may be thus hurting. While CT does not subscribe to all the sentiments concerning the appearance of Mary, as written literally, we understand the mother's sorrow and place the description within this context, which then takes on a meaning more reverential, which is how the author means it or we would not include the poem in this directory.

One Mother

       I'm quite alone in all the world,
Into such bright sharp pain of anguish hurled
I cannot pray wise comfortable things;
Death's plunged me deep in hell, and given me wings 
For terrible strange vastnesses; no hand
In all this empty spirit-driven space; I stand
Alone, and whimpering in my soul. I plod
Among wild stars, and hide my face from God.
God frightens me. He's strange. I know him not. 
And all my usual prayers I have forgot:
But you-----you had a son-----I remember now!
You are not Mary of the virgin brow!
You agonized for Jesus! You went down
Into the ugly depths for him. Your crown
Is my crown! I've seen you in the street,
Begging your way for broken bread and meat:
I've seen you in trams, in shops, among old faces, 
Young eyes, brave lips, broad backs, in all the places

Where women work, and weep, in pain, in pride.
Your hands were gnarled that held him when he died! 
Not the fair hands that painters give you, white
And slim. You never had such hands: night
And day you labored, night and day, from child
To woman. You were never soft and mild,
But strong-limbed, patient, brown-skinned from the sun,
Deep-bosomed, brave-eyed, holy, holy One!

I know you now! I seek you, Mary! Spread
You compassionate skirts! I bring to you my dead!
You'll know him when you see him: first of all
Because he'll smile that way he did when he was small; 
And then his eyes! They never changed from blue
To duller gray, as other children's do,
But like his childish dreams he kept his eyes
Vivid, and deeply clear, and visions wise.
Seek for him, Mary! Bright among the ghosts
Of other women's sons he'll star those hosts
Of shining boys! [He always topped his class
At school!] Lean forward, Mary, as they pass,

And touch him! When you see his eyes you'll weep 
And this him your own Jesus! Let him sleep
In your deep bosom, Mary, then you'll see
His lashes, how they curl, so childishly
You'll weep again, and rock him on your heart
As I did once, that night we had to part.
He'll come to you all bloody and bemired,
And very shy. If he'd come home to me
I wouldn't ask the neighbors in to tea . . .
He always hated crowds . . . I'd let him be . . .

And then perhaps you'll take him by the hand 
And comfort him from fear when he must stand 
Before God's dreadful throne; then, will you call 
That boy whose bullet made my darling fall, 
And take him by the other hand, and say . . .
"O God, Whose Son the hands of men did slay, 
These are Thy children Who do take away
The sins of the world . . ."