“She was a virgin even of herself.”
Père François de Sainte-Marie, O.C.D.
In a house of mirrors that coveted her image
she never walked
with her own beauty
nor made a feast of her goodness,
inviting friends from the far and wide.
She never sat down with her own innocence
to dialogue together,
nor called a stranger in
to sit at her hearth and be glorified.
She was a maiden promised to one lover
whom she was always seeking.
Though he hid in her heartbeat and settled himself
behind her breath,
he was distance, too. Journeys dwindled to places
beside her own, and miles melted beneath
her steps of wanting. She could by-pass all
meadows that trap us with their poisonous flower
and their soliciting pools
and winding lanes that skirt the only death.
She was out on a road alone, hastening onward,
gathering all as a gift, the small and great
fragments of mystery and reality.
Everything was for Him, even her own being.
Since love marks neither measurement or weight
she carried all, without touching or tasting.
Life which comes as a virgin to us all,
most safely came to her.
Time, when she passed, remained inviolate.
Sr. Miriam of the Holy Spirit, O.C.D.
Total Virgin (1976; 1984)
Powers, J 1999, The Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers, ICS Publications, Washington DC.