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.