The Corner

Poetry

AT THE CHAPEL OF THE PINK SISTERS

The crosses on the convent roofs

Gleam sharply as the sun comes up.

— Wallace Stevens, “Botanist on Alp (No. 2)”

The March wind blows past the first of April,

Purple finches in the small tree are alert,

Driven to their perches by the equinox

As surely as it swells magnolia buds

Elaborately wrapped for Easter, timed

To bloom this year just at the moment when

March raids April on a cold day in Lent.

I used to see old friends here in their 30s.

Then, only nuns, of no particular age,

Except that they look younger every year.

I understand that happening with baseball

Players or police officers, or streets

Crowded with hundreds, all of whom seem younger

Than I. But the Sisters were a surprise.

The old friends? Gone, moved to Jersey, or just

Praying somewhere else besides this chapel

Halfway between Cathedral and Fairmount

Where the Pink Sisters never cease praying,

Across from the old brewer’s mansion,

Silently, knowing that Green Street has its

Portion of sorrow, and its share of peace.

The postern gate on 22nd Street

Might be from a Scott novel, excepting

That it’s not a fictional entranceway

But leads to a hidden reality

That a votaress on Green Street understands.

– Lawrence Dugan

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