The National Catholic Review

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.

Mary Kay Schoen, of Alexandria, Va., is an editor and freelance writer. This poem was the second runner-up in this year’s Foley Poetry Contest.

Comments

Craig McKee | 9/14/2011 - 5:22am
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.
Lisa Weber | 9/11/2011 - 8:45pm
All of life is a holy vocation, and the formation is challenging.  Thanks for a great poem!

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