Monday, May 15, 2017

The Virgin at Noon (Paul Claudel)

   It is noon.  I see the church open.  I must enter. 
Mother of Jesus Christ, I have not come to pray. 
I have nothing to offer and nothing to ask.  
I have come only, Mary, to gaze upon you. 
To gaze upon you, to weep with joy, to know this – 
That I am your son and that you are here. 
Only for that moment when everything stops. 
To be with you, Mary, in this place where you rest, 
Saying nothing, looking at your face, 
Letting my heart sing its own language. 
Saying nothing, yet still singing because my heart is too full, 
Like the blackbird who pursues an idea 
in this kind of sudden couplets. 
For you are beautiful, for you are immaculate, 
Woman finally restored to Grace, 
Creature in her first honor and in her final flourishing, 
Just as she emerged from God 
on the morning of her original splendor. 
Ineffably intact because you are the Mother of Jesus Christ, 
Who is truth in your arms, and our sole hope and sole fruit. 
Because you are woman, Eden of ancient tenderness forgotten, 
Whose gaze finds my heart all of a sudden, 
and makes collected tears spring forth,  […] 
Because it is noon, because we are here today, 
Because you are there forever, simply because you are Mary,  
simply because you exist. 
Mother of our Lord, be thanked! 

--Paul Claudel, The Virgin at Noon,
excerpted from Oeuvres poétiques (1957),
translated from the French.
Image source:  Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Mill Valley

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