You who have lifted up your sunburned face,
Long-told of peasant warmth and the forest tableaux.
Barefoot, you brought the book of hours upon dusty roads,
Ungoverned, little flower from Jeanne to Lourdes to Lisieux.
Our Lady, osculum pacis, the kiss of peace in wood and stone.
Burned out to those dusty eyes,
Now-empty look of rosework from the forest-fall of sunlight.
Medieval prayer, earthly-dim to its rafters of oak,
Come un-cinctured in ashen cloud of amice and alb,
And the murine blackness of plague-like smoke.
Birds that sit blinking at the winged fossil of intrados,
Pipe air through your own ribbed vaults, organum pulse.
Let the city rise in your vining voices—and hold the note.
The great ***** intones from the runs and pedal stops,
Along the turbid streets of the rue de la Cité to the empire of catacombs.
Beside his candle, the monk in sadness knows
All loveliness of heaven except his own.
Our Lady, every sunset is your faded candle hour of peace, for us to know.
Holy Father, so passes worldly glory,
Over the roofs of Paris like fire-scorned and leaden wings.