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Poems of SR. TERESA, Carmelite of Lisieux

known as
The "Little Flower of Jesus,"



A LILY AMIDST THORNS.

FOR A NOVICE.

O King majestic, strong! e'en from my earliest days
, I well may call myself Thy work of grace alone;
Thy love to pay with love, Thy care to tell with praise,
I come with joy today, before Thy altar throne.
Jesu, my Best Beloved! what privilege is this?
For nothingness am I. What have I done for Thee?
Yet, clad in virginal white, it is today my bliss
To follow Thee, the Lamb, in heavenly ecstasy.

I know, alas, too well, that I am less than naught,
Weakness itself, and poor; devoid of virtues great
And yet Thou knowest well that I have always sought
With longing heart, Thyself; on Thee alone I wait
When my young heart first felt the fire of love burn bright,
Thou cam'st, O Christ! that fire to Thee alone to take;
Naught could content my soul but Thee, my one De light; -
The Infinite alone my burning thirst could slake.

Like some wee lamb afar from its safe sheltering fold,
Gayly I played, and nothing knew of dangers drear.
Shepherdess, Queen of Heaven! thy mother love un told,
Thy mother watchfulness, drew me thy heart anear.
So, playing on the brink of pitfalls dread and deep,
Afar I saw the hill of Carmel beckon me;
And I divined that they who climb its summits steep,
Shall learn of love, to fly to heaven's eternity.

An angel's purity, dear Lord, attracts Thy heart,
An angel white as snow, in heaven's celestial mirth.
Dost thou not also love a lily kept apart
For Thee, from mire and taint; as white as snow, on earth?
If he, within Thy sight, exults all dazzling pure,
In brilliant stainless robes, whose lustre blinds our gaze,
Hast Thou not kept my robe as safe, as white, as sure ?
My virgin heart has been the treasure of my days.




A WITHERED ROSE.

Jesus, when Thou didst leave Thy Mother's fond embrace,
Let go her hand;
And first, on our hard earth, Thy little foot didst place,
And trembling stand;
Within Thy pathway, then fresh rose leaves would I spread, -
Their Maker's dower, -
That so Thy tiny feet might very softly tread
Upon a flower.

These scattered rose leaves form true image of a soul,
O Child most dear!
That longs to immolate itself, complete and whole,
Each moment here.
On Thy blest altars, Lord, fresh roses fain would shine,
Radiant, near Thee;
They gladly give themselves. Another dream is mine,-
To fade for Thee!

How gaily decks Thy feasts, dear Child, a rose new­blown,
Fragrant and fair!
But withered roses are forgot, -the wild winds' own,-
Cast anywhere.
Their scattered leaves seek now no earthly joy or pelf;
For self, no gain.
Ah, little Jesus! so, I give Thee all! Of self,
Let naught remain.

These roses trampled lie beneath the passer's tread,
Unmarked, unknown.
I comprehend their lot;-these leaves, though pale and dead,
Are still Thine own.
For Thee they die; as I my time, my life, my all
Have spent for Thee.
Men think a fading rose am I, whose leaves must fall
At death's decree.

For Thee I die, for Thee, Jesus, Thou Fairest Fair! -
Joy beyond telling!
Thus, fading, would I prove my love beyond compare,
All bliss excelling.
Beneath Thy feet, Thy way to smooth, through life's long night,
My heart would lie;
And softening Thy hard path up Calvary's awful height,
I thus would die.

               May, 1897





­ ABANDONMENT.

"Abandonment is the delicious fruit of love."
               St. Augustine.

I saw upon this earth
A marvelous tree arise;
Its vigorous root had birth,
O wonder! in the skies.
Never, beneath its shade,
Can aught disturb or wound;
There tempests are allayed,
There perfect rest is found
And love men call this tree,
From heaven's high portals sent;
Its fruit, how fair to see!
Is named abandonment.

What banquet here doth greet
Each reverent, hungry guest!
How, by its odors sweet,
The spirit is refreshed!
If we its fruit but touch,
Joy seems on us to pour.
Oh, taste, - for never such
A feast was yours before.
In this tumultuous world
It brings us perfect peace;
Though storms be round us hurled,
Its quiet shall not cease.

Abandonment gives rest
In Thee, O Jesus Christ!
Here is the food most blest
That has Thy saints sufficed.
Spouse of my soul, draw nigher!
I give my all to Thee.
What more can I desire
Than Thy sweet Face to see?
Naught can I do but smile,
Safe folded to Thy breast.
They who have known no guile
Find there most perfect rest.

As looks the floweret small
Up to the glorious sun,
So I, though least of all,
Seek my Beloved One.
King Whom I love the most!
The star I always see
Is Thy White Sacred Host,
Little and low like me;
And its celestial power,
Down from Thy altar sent,
Wakes in my heart that flower, -
Perfect abandonment.

All creatures here below,
At times, they weary me;
And willingly I go,
With God alone to be.
And if, sometimes, dear Lord,
Of me Thou weariest,
I wait upon Thy word;
Thy holy will is best.
Smiling, I wait in peace,
Till Thou return to me;
And never shall they cease, -
My songs of love for Thee.
All pain I now despise,
Naught can disquiet me;
Swifter than eagle flies,
My spirit flies to Thee.
Beyond the gloomy cloud,
Ever the skies are fair,
And angels sing aloud,
And God is reigning there.
And yet without a tear
I wait that bliss above,
Who in the Host have here
The perfect fruit of love.




SECOND PART.

THE DEW DIVINE.

First Poem of Sister Teresa.

My sweetest Jesus! on Thy Mother's breast
Thy little Face is radiant with love;
Deign to reveal to me the mystery blest
That drew Thee down to exile from above.
Let me hide with Thee 'neath her veil of snow,
That now conceals Thee from all human sight.
Alone with Thee, bright Morning Star, I'll know
On earth a foretaste of heaven's deep delight.

When dawn awakens in the far off cast,
And first the sunbeams strike athwart the skies,
Looks for a precious balm - its daily feast
The unfolding floweret with expectant eyes.
Those spotless pearls of clear translucent dew
Are full of some mysterious vital power;
They form the sap that ever doth renew
And ope the petals of the half blown flower.

Thou art the Flower with petals still unclosed;
I gaze upon Thy beauty undefiled.
Thou art the Rose of Sharon long foretold,
Still in Thy glorious bud, Thou heavenly Child!
Thy dearest Mother's arms, so pure and white,
Form for Thee now a royal cradle throne;
Thy morning sun is Mary's bosom bright,
Thy sunlit dew her viqinal milk, my Own!

Ah, little Brother, shielded safe from harms,
In Thy deep eyes Thy future clear I see,­--
Soon Thou wilt leave for us Thy Mother's arms;
E'en now to suffer, Love is urging Thee.
And round Thy very Cross, Thou fading Flower,
Still clings the fragrance of Thy cradle throne;
I recognize the pearls of Thy first hour:
This Blood drew life from Mary's milk, my Own.

Those pearly dews on all our altars rest;
The angels fain would slake their thirst thereby,
Offering to God these words, forever blest:
"Behold the Lamb "--St. John's adoring cry.
Yes, see the Word, made Bread for famished men,
The Eternal Priest, the Lamb on altar throne!
Since God's own Son is Mary's Son, all, then,
This Bread drew life from Mary's milk, my Own!

On love divine, on joy, on glory's light,
The seraphs feast with rapture ever new;
I, a frail child, in the ciborium bright
See but a milk white Host, like pearly dew.
And since 'tis milk that suits with childhood most,
And Thou art Love Itself upon Thy throne,
So, tender Love, in my white daily Host
I see Thy Mother's virginal milk, my Own!

               February 2, 1893






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