Catholic Poetry Room

This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Sally Read.                                                                                                          


I watch the push of soft red petal from the cactus’ tip,
the sticky cobweb strung from spike to spike.
These days, when prayer’s too hoarse, too ripped
for words—I cannot say a word—does that still count?
Answer: we know how his tight mesh of skin that night
leaked drops of blood. And how the angel came,
pushed through the dark like hand through sleeve,
like notes of ordered song from vicious wind. All comes
from inside out. Dread thoughts escape, un-skinned,
and wild—like moths or silver flash of olive leaves—
but, too, the angel comes from where he hid, and sings.
The curtain tears and so does skin and so does prayer;
it is a kind of wordless tearing—our brokenness used
as entry for him; our brokenness filled by his.


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 newest book, Annunciation: a Call to Faith in a Broken World, is available on

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By Tim Bete

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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