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….

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 ago
All of life is a holy vocation, and the formation is challenging.  Thanks for a great poem!
Craig McKee
6 years 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.

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

These photos were taken August 16, 1920, at St. Elizabeth's Hospital for the Insane. Salmon had been on a hunger strike for 34 days. (National Archives and Records Administration via the website BenSalmon.org)
The courageous witness of 'unarmed prophet' Ben Salmon—precisely one century ago—anticipated a major development in Catholic doctrine on war and peace,.
Barry HudockSeptember 22, 2017
On this week's jesuitical, we talk with Catholic rockstar, Audrey Assad.
Olga SeguraSeptember 22, 2017
Soldiers hold up closed fists motioning for silence during rescue efforts at the Enrique Rebsamen school in Mexico City, Mexico, on Sept. 21. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Reports of a girl trapped in the rubble of a collapsed school in Mexico City captured the world's attention, but the story was created by bad journalistic and government practices.
Jan-Albert HootsenSeptember 22, 2017
A woman holds up a sign during a rally against assisted suicide in 2016 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario. (CNS photo/Art Babych)
The American College of Physicians called for better promotion of palliative and hospice care, which opponents of physician-assisted suicide say are underutilized areas of medicine that could address concerns of patients facing difficult illnesses.
Michael J. O’LoughlinSeptember 21, 2017