(imagined reflections from St. Therese to her spiritual director)
Things I have found and adored:
the dust that dances in the oratory,
the ink of the night sky, its shifting clouds;
the unexpected blessing of the snow,
yes, but also the rain's fat drops, the
sunshine poured like golden honey
on my body as I kneel alone.
The dregs and scrapes of paint I use
to make the mundane holy, knowing now,
as I do, that it already is.
I am told that sleep is sin (outside
the rule of dark night hours on
my mattress, roughly stuffed with hay) –
illicit sleep caresses me at prayer,
the choir stalls soften with its kisses,
I let my head droop in sleep's warmth,
O dove breast, O loosening blood –
I am drunk, just a little, with pleasure
at the solving of my body, at
this offering of everything at once.
I offer you apologies, Mon Père, for
today I have to write to you of nothing,
the nothing life of penitence and prayer,
the nothings of the recreation hall, where
sometimes I have acted out my nothings
to no critical acclaim. The nothing mornings
when my head is as a void. The never-
ending trial of nothing-ever-comes – ah, not
until belief has come to utter nothing
will I start to understand.
Sarah Law lives in London, and is a tutor for the Open University and elsewhere. Her collection Therese: Poems is forthcoming from Paraclete Press. She edits the online journal Amethyst Review for new writing engaging with the sacred.