of the Hermitage of the Three Holy Hierarchs
Night Prayer by Sally Read
Don’t think the night’s all deadness—there are wells
of light and dark, and many kinds of silence. Tonight
the snow breathes light and three large hares, white
on white, are munching left-out carrots, lolloping trails
of nothing in a silky, new-ink silence. It’s the silence
of how your hair would sound when it rises on your scalp.
It wakes the hermit; that and the beating heart of Christ
that pushes through the night like a boat through
brackish waters. There is no chapel-bell, no tramping march
of monks. Just one mind in the wooden room, apiece
with the fresh-ink hush. Thoughts are indivisible
from prayer; speech inseparable from silence and his heart
which echoes endlessly with what God spoke. He rises.
The snow-light seethes around him, like insomnia or love.
Sally Read was hermitage poet in residence from 2011-2021. The poems that she wrote during this period are available in her collection Dawn of this Hunger, published by Angelico Press and Second Spring, which took first place at the Catholic Media Awards in 2022. The story of Sally's conversion, which took place under the guidance of Fr Hrynkiw, is available as Night's Bright Darkness from Ignatius Press. Sally's website is www.sallyread.net
copyright Sally Read 2016: If you wish to use this material please contact The Asketerion for permission