A Poem For Sunday

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"Teresa," based on Saint Teresa, by Richard Wilbur, who turned 90 years old this week:

After the sun’s eclipse
The brighter angel and the spear which drew
A bridal outcry from her open lips,
She could not prove it true,
Nor think at first of any means to test
By what she had been wedded or possessed.

Not all cries were the same;
There was an island in mythology
Called by the very vowels of her name
Where vagrants of the sea,
Changed by a word, were made to squeal and cry
As heavy captives in a witch’s sty.

The proof came soon and plain:
Visions were true which quickened her to run
God’s barefoot errands in the rocks of Spain
Beneath its beating sun,
And lock the O of ecstasy within
The tempered consonants of discipline.

(Image: "Saint Theresa In Ecstasy" by Flickr user Giveawayboy. Jessa Crispin has more on Saint Teresa of Avila, the nun versus the philosophy for which she became renowned.)

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