In her 1939 poem "The Valley of the Cat-tails" Jessica Powers writes: “My valley is a woman unconsoled. Her bluffs are amethyst, the tinge of grief; her tamarack swamps are sad. There is no dark tale that she was not told; there is no sorrow that she has not had.”
Many of Jessica Powers poems have been published in various anthologies and journals. But one poem was commissioned by the Carmel of Terre Haute to accompany a special image of St. Joseph that they desired to publish as a prayer card. We hope that you enjoy her captivating verse.
Jessica Powers offers this reflection on the Virgin Mary, 'Full of Grace': "Your own reflection has revealed Your place, for she is utter light by Your own grace..."Your own grace...
God fills my being to the brim with floods of His immensity. I drown within a drop of Him whose sea-bed is infinity....
Poet Jessica Powers ponders the first stanza of Saint John of the Cross's poem, "The Dark Night". She asks, "How does one hush one's house?..."
It is hardly surprising to learn that the poet Jessica Powers was a great hymn writer, too. One of the hymns that she wrote for the Carmelite liturgies appears on the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. In it, she mentions the gift of the scapular.
Carmelite poet Jessica Powers contemplates the image of St. Mary Magdalen, who "ran on Easter morning, her hair wind-tumbled and her cloak awry. [...] She sought, as love so often seeks and finds, a Radiance that died or seemed to die..."
This is the badge of the friends of the Man of Sorrows: the mark of the cross, faint replica of His, become ubiquitous now; it spreads like a wild blossom on the mountains of time and in each of the crevices.
One may kneel down and make a plea with words from book or breviary... But some day, hidden by His will, if this meek child is waiting still, God will take out His mercy-key and open up felicity, where saltiest tears are given right to seas where sapphire marries light
I made a covenant with my eyes not to be watching to see what beauty might come down to me. Christ is my beauty; Him alone I see.
To live with the Spirit of God is to be a listener. It is to keep the vigil of mystery, earthless and still. One leans to catch the stirring of the Spirit, strange as the wind's will.
Here is a small bird cast as John the Baptist who from my treetops is inspired to say: I come from heaven to prepare the way.
Come is the love song of our race and Come our basic word of individual wooing. It lifts audacious arms of lowliness to majesty's most amiable undoing, to Godhood fleshed and cradled and made least.
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?
Then why should I take fright when foes or demons assail me with their treacheries or wrath, when I have knowledge that the Queen's archangel is keeper of my path?
Life which comes as a virgin to us all, most safely came to her. Time, when she passed, remained inviolate.
Grant us grace to climb Mount Carmel and to learn that love is loss. Guide us still our ways outdistance all earth’s treasures save the cross.