Absent Friends

Fiorella de Maria

For the staff and sisters of the St Joseph Hospital, Jerusalem
I never thought I would be too afraid
To contact an old friend. My hand reaches
For the telephone but I find myself drawing
Back in case the lines have been torn down
Or your number belongs to a stranger now,
Speaking a language I cannot share. And
For all I know, the letter I keep trying to write
Will be left on a doorstep without a house
Left standing behind it. Or it will lie in some
Depot somewhere with all the other post
Whose owners are not there now to lay
Claim to them. [Read more…]


Gabriel Olearnik

Outlanders are the salvation of shapes
the tailored jut of shoulders
the square thighs
centaur-pilots half a century ago. [Read more…]

Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Life

Reviewed by Meredith Wise

Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Life
By Paul Mariani
Viking, 2008
496 pages, $34.95

“To seem the stranger lies my lot, my life”: in this line, Hopkins could have been speaking of the treatment he has received from his biographers. Two full-length lives have already been published, and both, while impeccably researched, fail to credit the reality of Hopkins’ spiritual life. [Read more…]

108 Degrees

Gabriel Olearnik

  No word was given me, no legend 
   no ringing play, no tapestry of the coming time. 
   I did not know my name and of all things 
   there was only the lapping light, the sword and 
   sharp sand beneath my feet. 

The light is red thread on the clock 
4:48. Incomplete--an hour of wet 
salts and seven men murmuring.  [Read more...]

Bereite Dich, Zion

Grace Andreacchi

Fresh snow on the fields
and all along the track
frost flowers blooming.
In the distance a single light
flickers and dies
Overhead the stars like golden fireflies
are winking in the forest of the night.

I have put on my corals and rubies
I have put on my robe of purest light
I have sewed my heart to the sleeve of my garment
Ich bin bereit.

The Creek

R.S. Mitchell

Not rooted, as if cut and put for people,
an old tree stump waits in the creek,
a pedestal
for an office worker’s lunch break.
In miracles you may or not believe
but notice your face hovering over the water
and now perceive
the halo gliding under a strider,
how each foot-well puckers like a liquid lens. [Read more…]

Four Calling Birds

Joseph O’Brien


The renditions of reminiscence vary to the degree
That the mind does not mind its own migratory encasement
In wan December grey. Thoughtful birds succeed effortlessly
When all days require faithful acts of constant discernment.

The leftover robin, though, plays off your own reality
All along, all the time letting you think up a good canard
Of collusion: the scene we see, its folksome frivolity,
Albeit withal, is only a plastic-coated Christmas card. [Read more…]


Reviewed by Meredith Wise


by Ron Hansen
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008
227 pages, $23.00

The first thing to keep in mind about Exiles, if you are going to avoid being disappointed, is that it is a novelized biography rather than a conventional novel. Ron Hansen imposed some very strict limits on his invention, which he summarized in a discussion on the web journal InsideCatholic: [Read more…]

An Afterglow Candidate

R.S. Mitchell

“At 03:34:30 UT, the Swift Burst Alert Telescope
(BAT) triggered and located GRB [gamma ray burst]
060218. . . . Swift slewed immediately to the burst. . . .
There is an indication of an afterglow candidate. . . .”

Think of those days of earthly incarnation
as a fixed point in human history
but also a cosmic epiphany,
like a burst of gamma radiation.
[Read more…]

Advent 2008

Publisher’s Note


Nearer My Dogs to Thee  John Zmirak


The Convert Katy Carl

The Meadow  David Dahlke

The Strawberry Effect  Lauren Schott


If Life Could Write: Mystery and Reality in War and Peace  Bernardo Aparicio Garcia


Agnes  Grace Andreacchi


Steam  Gabriel Olearnik

Tumult  Gabriel Olearnik

108 degrees  Gabriel Olearnik

St. Catherine’s Wheel  Michael Schorsch

Absent Friends  Fiorella de Maria

Patina  William Daugherty

Sacred Heart of St. Joseph  Jonathan McDonald

White Christmas  Joseph O’Brien

Four Calling Birds  Joseph O’Brien

An Afterglow Candidate  R.S. Mitchell

The Creek  R.S. Mitchell

Christus Natus Est  Rose Polchowne

The White Stone  J.B. Toner

Footnote to the 22nd Psalm  Jason Baguia

Embers  Michael Miller

Bereite Dich, Zion  Grace Anreacchi

To the Christ-child in the Flight to Egypt  Jason Baguia

Ascension  Adam Cooper

Living with Killers  Vic Cavalli

Concerning Violets  Michael Schorsch


Exiles  Meredith Wise

Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Life  Meredith Wise

Art and Photography

Agnes  Matthew Alderman

Until We Have Faces I  Patrick Anderson

Until We Have Faces II  Patrick Anderson

Tomb of the Black Knight  Patrick Anderson

Bere Island  Patrick Anderson