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Carol Scott, "Stardust"
Article Poetry

Poems for Christmas Day

Carol Scott and Caitlin Smith Gilson

Humanum/ArteFact is delighted to publish a sampling of poetry from an upcoming collection entitled Rhapsody and Redolence: The Crystal Decade (Cascade Books, 2024).

The first two poems, "On Christmas Day" and "Rose of Love," are intended to go together and were co-authored by Carol Scott and Caitlin Smith Gilson. The third poem, "Stargazer in Bethlehem," was written by Caitlin Smith Gilson.

On Christmas Day

On Christmas Day
With angel’s song
A Mother was created
Perfected gift to the universe
When Cross was still manger

Virgin veiled
Mary, the flowing sweetness of her breast
All before the earth confessed the dead
Before the cloth is ripped and torn
He, a slumbering life born in hay

The life of the Seven Dolors
Our Lady of Roses
Brought the garden to Bethlehem
First love without thorn

Mother Redemptress
You hold and rock the unborn and born
Cradled child Jesus
Passion’s pieta of your embrace

God bringer
Star of the sea
My ship is in roughest water
Rock me in your arms

Cause of our joy
The flowers have gone to sleep
Place your kiss upon me
When time is fatal

Mother of mercy
I am one of your lost sheep
Find me
In the last line
When time is fatal

Rose of Love

Rose of love
Five-decade garden
Most perfect prayer
Blooms never withering
Bud to full
Wrapped around the world

Chanting Ave Ave Ave

Heaven unclothed its bouquet
Petals drift earthbound
All power and consummation teeming
Dropped into lined beads
Forged glistening tears
As bright as Christening gown

Chanting Ave Ave Ave

Your life of the Lamb
Washed white in veiled weeping
The sawed tree
Cut down
Pressed into coal
Into Virgin beads
Decades of love overflowing into me

Mary Mary Mary
Teach me to pray

Stargazer in Bethlehem

You looked back at me
In the split second before heartbreak
Claimed what remains of my creation

At the very moment
My arms and legs
Readied themselves for starless night
You became more real
Than earth revolving around sun

Your eyes came to mine
At the last hour
Before the surface of the moon
Was worn smooth
When there would be nothing left
No inner wish to manifest
No lakes flowing into streams
Floating into the heavens
Sinking beneath my body
Into the purgatory nearing hell

In the last lonely passage
Of unremarkable time
Your perfect wisdom
Your happy smile
Replaced the hinge of my soul
That moves my body

You turned me inside out
At the very instant my chest
Had begun to sink
Residing closer to my spine
Compressing God’s Word

Your breathing broods over the waters
Unmaking the land
Separate me into pieces
Wrapped and parceled out
Returned to your embrace

When you looked back at me
It pulled the sun closer
I am burning up in you

When your eyes fell upon mine
The sun became everything
Except I cannot go on
Somewhere I must fold
Some hidden seam
Is written across my soul
I want to come home
To be inside your starlight
Burning away in you

I think back to the days of you
When the sun was large
Filled the windows
Warmed the curtain
Heated the glass
And everything tasted of lemon
And loving irreverence
But I cannot go on
Dissolving in my love

I need to remember
How you looked at me
The Seven Sorrows around your neck
Fallen on my breast
Igniting my tongue
To speak and to kiss
To kiss again
And my mouth could cover all of you
But I cannot go on

I am freezing to my bones in sky of black

My hands want your face
Your color
Your texture
Your uncharted face
The nebula of you
Ionized light inside light
Overwhelming matter and meaning
Let there be galaxies of you when I die
Universes of you

All matter, space, energy, and time
Are dying within me

How can I love you perfectly as you are?

Carol Scott is Professor Emeritus of Art at University of Holy Cross, New Orleans. She is a gallery artist at Gallery 600 Julia in the prestigious Arts District of New Orleans and co-author and artist for the forthcoming Rhapsody and Redolence: The Crystal Decade.

Caitlin Smith Gilson is Professor of Philosophy at University of Holy Cross, New Orleans. She is the author of several books of philosophy, theology, and poetry, most recently As It Is in Heaven: Some Christian Questions on the Nature of Paradise (Cascade, 2022).

Posted on December 23, 2023.

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