"dazzle gradually"

"Dazzle Gradually" 2017 poems, paintings, new art & photography--a diary, a discipline, a delight. Read over my shoulder as I post my unedited poetry ---you can see it in the raw or get my first book and see how the work evolves with new books rolling out next year.

Polly Alice

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pilgrimage to the Grotto of Lourdes

At age twenty-six I walked
a palmer’s pilgrimage.
My answer, like the journey,
cut like the edge of the dry palm leaf
My journey, like that blade,
up St. Mary’s mountain, and down,
down back to the valley’s shadow
left me like a dream.

Two candles burned in the grotto,
like that dream, their tiny prisms
shadowed by the dark
womb of the cave.

It wasn't the cave where I
found the answer, it was the valley
I heard a voice ...
Hope is the thing with feathers,
a postcard with no note.

Born into the heat of summer,
home on a cool June day
in Pennsylvania, my prayer lived.
A child.  She entered the world
when the roses awakened,
when the daisies whispered hello,
and the cornflowers blew kisses.
Blue like her eyes.

She came five years after I carried
roses down a red carpeted aisle,
half a decade after I tossed
daisies and bachelor buttons
to the maids in green dresses.

Born into the ice of day
Swaddled to sleep
by the lights of the Christmas
tree--with pink poinsettias
framing the garret--
he smiled in
his basket bed.

And when I asked for a child,
I stood on the mountain studying
the artist’s stonelife of Mary,
Mary holding her newborn,
carved with the joy of morning.
I studied the bronze grief
of the Pieta, Mary
holding her dead son.

Joy and grief go together,
she told me.  You cannot
have one without the other,
Yes, I agreed.  I will take

Born into an hour of grief
asleep in death
before light’s piercing
she was already gone.
Rose of Sharon
bloomed white
in mourning
like her absence.

Pink roses in the vase
reflected the name
of the child I lost
before receiving.  And
I accepted the grief with
the joy, because I'd accepted
the risk to be
a mother.


  1. beauty from the ashes, polly. you are letting it come. God bless you...


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