Some Colors of Crucifixion


This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Johanna Caton, O.S.B.


Some Colors of Crucifixion

Visceral things should be visual,
each having its own color.
Blood Red. Perfect.

What color shall we have for
Giving Up and Running Away?
Brown, perhaps. Run-away Brown.

Or what about Hiding in Fear? Grey.
Or better, black. Hiding Black.

Weeping? I don’t mean the tears,
but the feeling that goes with tears.
Burnt orange, surely, like the colors
of canyons vast as small planets,
and with no green growth in them.
Weeping Burnt Orange.

What about the color of
Just Getting On With The Next Thing
(for when feelings overwhelm
and this is the best one can do)?
Has to be:
black and white, like legal briefs,
utterly detached
from emotion, and highly functional,

but actually unintelligible.

And what about Bitter Shame?
Return to blood red, I think,
because you have betrayed
the one you professed to love more
than anyone else and this is a raw,
gaping wound. Bitter Shame Blood Red.

And Waiting Without Knowing
What You Are Waiting For?

Color it the color of listening
space, silver as the silence that settles
the grass before dawn and waits
for the glistening.


Johanna Caton, O.S.B., is a Benedictine nun from Minster Abbey in Kent, England. Born in Virginia, she lived in the United States until adulthood, when her monastic vocation took her to England. She writes poetry as a means of understanding the work of God in her life, whose purposes and presence can be elusive until viewed through the more accommodating lens of art and poetry. Her poetry has appeared, or will appear in Green Hills Literary Lantern, Time of Singing Christian Poetry Journal, The Christian Century, and other places.

Print this entry

About the Author

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


Jeffrey Essmann is Poetry Editor for IntegratedCatholicLife.org and always searching for the best Catholic poetry from today's poets as well as those of the past.

Jeffrey is an essayist and poet living in New York. His work has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, among them America Magazine, Dappled Things, the St. Austin Review and The Road Not Taken. He is a Benedictine oblate of Mt. Saviour Monastery.

Author Archive Page