I sometimes fear, O Lord, I’ve not the scope
of years or wisdom left to me to bear
the growing burden of an active hope.
The dark’ning world around me swirls with care.
Its very skies are sighing with the pain
of human lives adrift and cast about;
a gnawing emptiness, absurd, profane,
the human soul has all but hollowed out.
Yet in my rusting years a greenness bides,
a vision Spirit planted in my youth
that even in the darkness gently chides
and calls me to the Temple and the truth:
a woman there, heart riven by a sword,
who offers up her infant to the Lord.
Jeffrey Essmann is an essayist and poet living in New York. His poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, among them America Magazine, Dappled Things, the St. Austin Review, The Road Not Taken and various venues of the Benedictine monastery with which he is an oblate, and has work upcoming in U.S. Catholic and First Things. He is editor of the Catholic Poetry Room page on the Integrated Catholic Life website.