Story of a Solstice

This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Johanna Caton, O.S.B.

Story of a Solstice

“He was preaching the word to them, when some people came bringing him a paralytic carried by four men….They stripped the roof over the place Jesus was and lowered the stretcher.” (Mark 2:1-12)

My sin: stiff, stifling, body-bound, peace-cracked, rank.
Friends’ faith strapped my mind-trapped body to a plank–
I remember trunk and limb and mind wrecked, wracked–

the way they up and wide-stripped a roof-hole, proved faith
(theirs not mine), up and winched my down-fall, paced
the way I was lowered, slowly, swinging, full-weight

to a place before the gaping Man while he stood under me,
under-stood me–his eyes bore down to my soul-seat
the night-day that became my solstice, when I was soul-freed–

the way solace in-flowed my wintered soul– as sin sagged,
dragged itself off, hauling away bags and bags of agony:
forgiven, gone, sundered, shriven, sheared: heaven, heaven–

the way legs warmed, heal-toe-flow burned, arched–blazed:
the way I-his-eyes-mine-held the thunder of his word’s ways,
probing mind and limb. I rose, I walked to him, praised! Praised.

Johanna Caton, O.S.B., is a Benedictine nun from Minster Abbey in Kent, England. Born in Virginia, she lived in the United States until adulthood, when her monastic vocation took her to England. She writes poetry as a means of understanding the work of God in her life, whose purposes and presence can be elusive until viewed through the more accommodating lens of art and poetry. Her poetry has appeared, or will appear in Green Hills Literary Lantern, Time of Singing Christian Poetry Journal, The Ekphrastic Review, The Christian Century, Amethyst Review and other venues. She is a 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee.

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