Poetry, VOLUME 1

Poem: St. Therese of Lisieux “Abandonment” [Vol. 1, #39]

"Abandonment is the delicious fruit of love."
-- St. Augustine.

   I saw upon this earth
   A marvelous tree arise;
   Its vigorous root had birth,
   O wonder! in the skies.
   Never, beneath its shade,
   Can aught disturb or wound;
   There tempests are allayed,
   There perfect rest is found
   And love men call this tree,
   From heaven's high portals sent;
   Its fruit, how fair to see!
   Is named abandonment.
   What banquet here doth greet
   Each reverent, hungry guest!
   How, by its odors sweet,
   The spirit is refreshed!
   If we its fruit but touch,
   Joy seems on us to pour.
   Oh, taste, -- for never such
   A feast was yours before.
   In this tumultuous world
   It brings us perfect peace;
   Though storms be round us hurled,
   Its quiet shall not cease.
   Abandonment gives rest
   In Thee, O Jesus Christ!
   Here is the food most blest
   That has Thy saints sufficed.
   Spouse of my soul, draw nigher!
   I give my all to Thee.
   What more can I desire
   Than Thy sweet Face to see?
   Naught can I do but smile,
   Safe folded to Thy breast.
   They who have known no guile
   Find there most perfect rest.
   As looks the floweret small
   Up to the glorious sun,
   So I, though least of all,
   Seek my Beloved One.
   King Whom I love the most!
   The star I always see
   Is Thy White Sacred Host,
   Little and low like me;
   And its celestial power,
   Down from Thy altar sent,
   Wakes in my heart that flower, --
   Perfect abandonment.
   All creatures here below,
   At times, they weary me;
   And willingly I go,
   With God alone to be.
   And if, sometimes, dear Lord,
   Of me Thou weariest,
   I wait upon Thy word;
   Thy holy will is best.
   Smiling, I wait in peace,
   Till Thou return to me;
   And never shall they cease, --
   My songs of love for Thee.
   All pain I now despise,
   Naught can disquiet me;
   Swifter than eagle flies,
   My spirit flies to Thee.
   Beyond the gloomy cloud,
   Ever the skies are fair,
   And angels sing aloud,
   And God is reigning there.
   And yet without a tear
   I wait that bliss above,
   Who in the Host have here
   The perfect fruit of love.
   May, 1897

C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com

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