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 

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copyright Sally Read 2016: If you wish to use this material please contact The Asketerion for permission