Her Shadow

Her Shadow

catholic poetry room
This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is an ekphrastic by Johanna Caton, O.S.B. based on In the Shadow of Our Lady,  a painting by Rev. Stephen Horton, O.S.B.

Her Shadow

Our Lady’s mantle, a single fold—discreet,
that glimpse of blue, its edge of gold. Her light
so pooled and gathered in the orchid, seeks
me, even as I seek her grace—its white,

pearled glow. But the orchid leans toward
Our Lady’s synergy of light and shade
—where pain and purity conjoin, like words,
newly coined, to make us think and pray

about her sinlessness and perfect grace—
to think of grace as flesh and solid bone,
opaque and shadow-making. She can trace,
therefore, within our shadows, light, make known

its presence by self-offering—unflawed.
Her shadow is the same as light—like God.

Johanna Caton, O.S.B., is a Benedictine nun from Minster Abbey in Kent, England. Born in Virginia, she lived in the United States until adulthood, when her monastic vocation took her to England. She writes poetry as a means of understanding the work of God in her life, whose purposes and presence can be elusive until viewed through the more accommodating lens of art and poetry. Her poetry has appeared or will appear in Green Hills Literary Lantern, Time of Singing Christian Poetry Journal, The Ekphrastic Review, The Christian Century, Amethyst Review and other venues. She is a 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee

Stephen Horton, O.S.B., is a monk of Prinknash Abbey, Gloucestershire, England. He runs a small art gallery in which his artwork is on display and for sale. His works range from oil portraits on canvas to watercolors of architectural antiquities. For further information visit the Prinknash Abbey website:

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