Marie du jour 2021, May 31: Jessica Powers

The Visitation Journey

The second bead: scene of the lovely journey
of Lady Mary, on whom artists confer
a blue silk gown, a day pouring out Springtime,
and birds singing and flowers bowing to her.

Rather, I see a girl upon a donkey
and her too held by what was said to mind
how the sky was or if the grass was growing.
I doubt the flowers; I doubt the road was kind.

“Love hurried forth to serve.” I read, approving.
But also see, with thoughts blown past her youth,
a girl riding upon a jolting donkey
and riding further and further into the truth.

Sr. Miriam of the Holy Spirit, O.C.D.
(Jessica Powers)

Powers, J 1999, The Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Featured image: Tyndale Seminary New Testament associate professor Dr. Ian Scott shares this image of the Judean wilderness in his Flickr photo album Israel Tour 2011. He shares the following details about the image:

This photo looks north and east along a deep valley in the Judean wilderness (midbar or “desert”), standing just east of Jerusalem. The ridge at right provided the path for the “red ascent” (Ma’ale Adummim), the main road from the Jordan valley (near Jericho) up to Jerusalem in the central hill country. This road was notorious in antiquity for banditry and it is this route that forms the setting for Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan.

We don’t know the route that the Virgin took from Nazareth to visit her kinswoman, Elizabeth, but some scholars indicate that it’s likely that Mary traveled along the more level route that passes through the Jordan river valley from Beth-shean to Jericho. From Jericho she, too, might have followed that path for the “red ascent” up to Jerusalem and Ein Kerem, where we believe Saint Elizabeth was staying.

Photo credit: Dr. Ian Scott (Some rights reserved)

2 thoughts on “Marie du jour 2021, May 31: Jessica Powers

Add yours

  1. What a fabulous poem!! I am looking forward to getting to know her poetry more. This one reminds me of my very favourite poem, which you will probably know. Not an OCD source, but very relevant, Chesterton. I can’t read it without crying:
    The Donkey
    When fishes flew and forests walked
    And figs grew upon thorn,
    Some moment when the moon was blood
    Then surely I was born.

    With monstrous head and sickening cry
    And ears like errant wings,
    The devil’s walking parody
    On all four-footed things.

    The tattered outlaw of the earth,
    Of ancient crooked will;
    Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
    I keep my secret still.

    Fools! For I also had my hour;
    One far fierce hour and sweet:
    There was a shout about my ears,
    And palms before my feet.

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