Vowed to this life

We face each other across the choir
in the night cathedral of our married lives
summoned by an infant’s hungry wail
to chant the hours after Compline.

Hush, little baby, don’t say a word….

Advertisement

We recite the old antiphonies
that keep at bay the terrors of the dark:
“I checked. You’re safe. I’m sure.
There are no monsters under the bed.”

We rise for the Nocturnes, the watches
of the night, observe the mercury rising,
proffer cool ablutions. “...a hundred and four.
Yes, certainly, we can bring him in.”

Sent for the doctor / The doctor said….

Through the night the porch light burns in vigil.
Past midnight we sleep lightly, half waiting
for a ring that cracks the stillness of the hour:
“This is Officer Olsen. Are you the parent....”

We are caught up lifelong in the liturgy
of the hours, called to Matins by the ringing
in the dark, groping for the phone.
“Mom, the baby won’t stop crying.”

Hush, little baby, don’t say a word….

When the birds begin their chorus
and the sun lights up the east
we’re back to bed for consolation
and then we rise for Lauds.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Lisa Weber
6 years 2 months ago
All of life is a holy vocation, and the formation is challenging.  Thanks for a great poem!
Craig McKee
6 years 2 months ago
Sure beats the hell out of a dried up group of old celibates warbling Davidian love songs in the darkness of their monastic insularity...for centuries held out to us mere laypeople as the EPITOME of a "religious" life.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Images: CNS/Composite: America
On Nov. 11, the Catholic Church lost a moral titan in the long struggle for racial equality and justice in the United States.
Shannen Dee WilliamsNovember 22, 2017
Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, Myanmar military commander-in-chief, speaks during the Union Peace Conference Aug. 31 in Naypyitaw (CNS photo/Hein Htet, EPA).
Gen. Min Aung Hlaing wields great political power in the country.
Jacob Tremblay and Julia Roberts in “Wonder” (CNS photo/Lionsgate). 
‘Wonder’ is a tween melodrama on a mission of mercy.
Simcha FisherNovember 22, 2017
The change was in “no way” a response to the C.C.H.D.’s persistent online critics, an archdiocesan official says.
Kevin ClarkeNovember 22, 2017