Shadows and Silence
Cloistered but not too firmly
She haunts Saint Bernadette’s
A knee calloused petitioner
Fervently hidden amongst the folds of her three times too large
Coarse cloth habit.
Her shining eyes burn bright
Through the sung Psalms and when she eats,
She pecks at her food like a half-starved song bird.
She kneels alone in her cell
Groaning in ecstatic union
With the God she’s pining for;
Whilst her sisters shuffle past more quickly within ear shot.
The Mother Superior hides from her gaze
Is quite aware of her bright insane daughter
Longs to be rid of one who’s religion
Taints the community
With her strange fire.
The home she fled one burning night
Bleeding and heart torn
She only sees in bad dreams or in the silence
Between liturgical phrases.
Here in the garden
Kneeling and digging
Trowel in hand she suddenly looks up;
A solitary crow black in the twilight
Wings its way across green tilled fields
And for a moment freedom calls her name;
But for now peace is still found between the cold stone pillars
And the loving glances of those older sisters
Who know their God.