catholic poetry room

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.

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About the Author

Tim Bete, ICL Poetry Curator To submit poetry to be considered for the Catholic Poetry Room, visit our submission guidelines page.

Tim Bete is Poetry Editor for and always searching for the best Catholic poetry from today's poets as well as those of the past.

Tim's poetry has appeared in Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry, The Asketerion, and the Poet and Contemplative Blog of the Discalced Carmelite Friars (Province of St. Therese). His first book of poetry is The Raw Stillness of Heaven, of which one reviewer wrote, “If you are Catholic and think that you do not like poetry, this book will change your mind.”

Tim is former director of the national writers' workshop at the University of Dayton—a Catholic, Marianist university. He's a member of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCDS) and often trades poems with his oldest daughter, who is a Dominican Sister. He says she's the best writer in the family.

Tim's writing has also appeared in several editions of the Amazing Grace anthology series (Ascension Press), theChristian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest magazine, and numerous parenting magazines. His latest book is Wanderings of an Ordinary Pilgrim

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