This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Sally Read.
Scarlet berries by the hundred break
quietly, violently, the green-black leaves—
like drops of Blood, our fathers used to say—
and late sun floods and reddens snow.
The world’s never got over the darkening
of your death—all nature dimmed and kneeled
at the slowing of your blood; earth plates
dislocated at the wrenching of your breath.
Birds hushed. Still now, your Cross
is everywhere: at the tops of telegraph poles,
in the fall of bindweed in long grasses.
Each moment is inscribed with you—
unspeakable loss, desire. In prayer
I fall further into you: your gaze cave-deep,
a plummeting mine. Your love gallops
through the earth, through me—even now
it won’t turn back—it lives again, protects.
And like a child on his first hunt
whose cheek is brushed with the slaughtered
fox’s tail, all of creation has been blooded.
Sally Read is poet in residence at the Hermitage of the Three Holy Hierarchs. She is the author of three books of poetry (which she wrote before her conversion to Catholicism): The Day Hospital (2012), Broken Sleep (2009), and The Point of Splitting (2005), all published by Bloodaxe Books, and the story of her nine-month conversion from atheism to Catholicism, Night’s Bright Darkness, published by Ignatius Press. Her new book, Annunciation: a Call to Faith in a Broken World, will be published by Ignatius Press in Fall 2019.