Gypsy by nature, how can I endure it—
This small strict space, this meager patch of sky?
What madness once possessed me to procure it?
And deed it to myself until I die?
What could the wise Teresa have been thinking
to set these bounds on even my little love?
This walling, barring, minimizing, shrinking—
how could her great Castilian heart approve?
And yet I meet the morrow with composure.
Before I made my plaint I found the clue
And I learned the secret to outwit enclosure
because of summits and a mountain view.
You question, then, the presence of a mountain?
Yet it is here past earth’s extravagant guess—
Mount Carmel with its famed Elian fountain,
and God encountered in its wilderness.
Its trails outrun the most adept explorer,
outweigh the gypsy’s most inordinate need.
Its heights cry out to mystic and adorer.
Oh, here are space and distances indeed.
Sr. Miriam of the Holy Spirit, O.C.D.
(Jessica Powers, 1948)
Powers, J 1999, The Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers, ICS Publications, Washington DC.
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