The Cloud of Witnesses
The cloud of witnesses, that holy race
Of ordinary men and women quite
Transfigured by extraordinary grace
Do now in Heaven infinite delight
Enjoy, and that most certainly by right.
These martyrs, virgins, all of mankind’s best,
Have much endured, have fought the goodly fight
And fully earned their claim to godly rest.
Yet we on earth still put them to the test.
We so on end petition them—for this,
For that—and hold them at our whim’s behest
They’ve hardly an uninterrupted bliss.
But they of all most know that there’s the seed
Of something saintly deep in human need.
Jeffrey Essmann is an essayist and poet living in New York. His poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, among them America Magazine, Dappled Things, the St. Austin Review, U.S. Catholic, Amethyst Review, The Society of Classical Poets, and various venues of the Benedictine monastery with which he is an oblate. He was the 2nd Place winner in the Catholic Literary Arts 2022 Assumption of Mary poetry contest and 1st Place winner in its Advent: Mary Mother of Hope contest later that year. He is editor of the Catholic Poetry Room page on the Integrated Catholic Life website.