Madeleine L’Engle wrote many poems with spiritual themes, both personal and, uniquely, from the perspective of Biblical characters. She was often ecstatic in God’s presence:
To the impossible: Yes!
Enter and penetrate
O Spirit. Come and bless
This hour: the star is late.
Only the absurdity of love
Can break the bonds of hate.
He did not wait for the perfect time.
He dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine. He did not wait
till hearts were pure. In joy he came
to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
he came, and his Light would not go out...
He came to a world which did not mesh, to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh, the Maker of the stars was born.
We cannot wait till the world is sane, to raise our songs with joyful voice
For to share our grief, to touch our pain, He came with love: Rejoice! Rejoice!
She was also able to write with a wry sense of humor. In After Annunciation, she muses:
This is the irrational season, when love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason, there’d have been no room for the child.
She even pokes fun at her own humility, and jokes (I hope) that if the Church seems to exist to hear our darkest confessions, does it care about our ‘normal’ sins? Can the uninspired sinner earn salvation?
“My Sins, I Fear, Dear Lord, Lack Glamour”
My sins, I fear, dear Lord, lack glamour. I’ll never make a thief.
In the market place’s lustful clamour, I do not seek relief…
The church’s doors are open wide, as they should always be
To anyone who’ll go inside—Except for those like me…
The exquisite unfriendly church, where mass media are able
To supercede the Mass, and perch upon the Holy Table.
If I could couch my current quest, in language fine and formal,
I’d ask that simple souls be blest: Salvation for the normal.
And yet she did not shy away from her own frustration, doubt, and anger at God:
To be with you, at peace, at home, Lord, I believe. Oh, help my unbelief!
I hate you God. Love, Madeleine…
When I am angry with you, I know that you are there, even if you do not answer my knock…
I cannot turn the other cheek. It takes all the strength I have to keep my fist from hitting back... How can I write to you,
To tell you that I’m angry, when I’ve been given the wrong address and don’t even know your real name?
By Kevin Korell. The complete versions of the poems listed here can be found at: www.parkwayucc.com/poems2.html