The Crown of Red

Amanda Glass

For Max on his saint’s day

I asked the Mother of God what was to become of me. Then she came to me holding two crowns, one white, the other red. She asked if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity, and the red that I should become a martyr. I said that I would accept them both.
– Saint Maximilian Kolbe

When stalking death just brushed his sleeve,
intent upon another man,
he saw a proffered gift instead--
   a gift prepared for him alone
   in depths before the world was known--
and snatched it up with joyful haste.

   In love, his life resigned--
   "Thy will, not mine--"
In love he leapt and seized death's searching hand.

There would have been no sin
in silence--for all, perhaps, but him.

Ten flagging souls he saved--one spared
to be restored to family,
nine spared from final loss of hope.
   And as the victim-priest did pour
   his life out on the cold cell floor
beside his slain, safeguarded sheep,
   in love, he left the night--
   light unto Light--
in Love subsumed, poured out eternally.

Amanda Glass graduated in 1999 from Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she majored in Humanities and Catholic Culture. Her poems have appeared in The Lyric and in Garlands of Grace: An Anthology of Great Christian Poetry. She and her family live in western Maryland, where she is a full-time wife and mother.