Magazine | February 6, 2017, Issue


(Photo: Pixabay)


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's poetry has appeared recently in Arion, National Review, The Spectator and The Threepenny Review.

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


Politics & Policy


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 ...
Politics & Policy


Against Big-Government Conservatism Samuel R. Staley argues for a permanent revolving-loan bank (“The Infrastructure Bank We Need,” December 31). Staley conditions his proposal on the bank’s being “properly designed and constrained,” ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ So there were no left-wing Puerto Rican transsexual terrorists in federal prison? ‐ Representative John Lewis (D., Ga.) announced that he would skip Donald Trump’s inauguration: “I don’t see this ...

Most Popular


White Cats and Black Swans

Making a film of Cats is a bold endeavor — it is a musical with no real plot, based on T. S. Eliot’s idea of child-appropriate poems, and old Tom was a strange cat indeed. Casting Idris Elba as the criminal cat Macavity seems almost inevitable — he has always made a great gangster — but I think there was ... Read More
Health Care

The Puzzling Problem of Vaping

San Francisco -- A 29-story office building at 123 Mission Street illustrates the policy puzzles that fester because of these facts: For centuries, tobacco has been a widely used, legal consumer good that does serious and often lethal harm when used as it is intended to be used. And its harmfulness has been a ... Read More
Politics & Policy

May I See Your ID?

Identity is big these days, and probably all days: racial identity, ethnic identity, political identity, etc. Tribalism. It seems to be baked into the human cake. Only the consciously, persistently religious, or spiritual, transcend it, I suppose. (“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor ... Read More

Wolf Warrior II Tells Us a Lot about China

The Chinese economy is taking a big hit as a result of the trade war with the U.S: A leading export indicator has fallen several months in a row, Chinese companies postponed campus recruitment, and auto and housing sales dropped. A number of U.S. manufacturers are moving production outside of China. So ... Read More