This week's stories | Home Page
Issue Date:  March 7, 2008


The Whoring Daughter

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel
was sent to a town in Galilee ... Luke 1:26

Mister Sun, I ask you
not to rise; today’s the day.

Soon it will show, and mother
will know; women learn
to tell before the belly

swells. My morning vomit
I’ve hid till now, like sweeping
bits of garbage beneath the rug.

Mother sees with her nose so
I’m trapped in shame. Impossible
to postpone the telling, but what

words and where and how?
Really now, can a daughter say
to her mother, “I’m no slut

and Joseph’s not to blame,
but I’m pregnant, though no man
led me behind the shed?

You see, mother, while I was busy
in the kitchen with a pitcher of water
I’d brought from the well this angel

of light appeared to say
the Holy Ghost will shadow
and rest upon me to make

a child within my womb
without the blanket or seed
of any man. You and Papa

are chosen vessels of a chosen
daughter.” Absolute madness.
But it must be today.

-- Fr. Kilian McDonnell, OSB
   Collegeville, Minn.

Holy Thursday
On seeing a Bradford pear tree

“Do this in memory of Me ...”
echoes round the globe.

As, pointing heavenward,
the topmost branches skim the sky
while all the others
swoop and stretch
in yearning

Each tender branch, as
anointed priestly hands, lifts,
raises high, fragile whited petals,
multitudinous hosts offered
to heal a troubled, hungering
starving world.

-- Sr. Mary K. Himens, SSCM
   Champaign, Ill.


early morning walk
inhale the eternal now
savoring sunrise

-- Kathleen Wardach
   Edgewater, N.J.

Note to poets: Short lines preferred. Poetry is published in a newspaper column only 35 characters wide, counting punctuation and spaces. Submit poems to Poetry, NCR, PO Box 411009, Kansas City MO 64141-1009, or e-mail at

National Catholic Reporter, March 7, 2008

This Week's Stories | Home Page | Top of Page
Copyright  © The National Catholic Reporter Publishing  Company, 115 E. Armour Blvd., Kansas City, MO   64111
All rights reserved.
TEL:  816-531-0538     FAX:  1-816-968-2280   Send comments about this Web site to: