by Johanna Caton
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall*
Thus: Robert Frost. But I, I wish that thing, whatever it is, could see our wall—the stones, their shapes, the texture, all the varied greys, some almost black, some nearly white—forming a galaxy—a static universe in small: to stand for what’s beyond the earth. Our wall was first an outdoor wall, first built to hone the land—a field, a farm—create a term for nature’s crazy gambolling. But souls need bounds like wild things do— our wall became a fourth surround, where place enshrines with walls the Architect of grace. Our wall was ever upright, stable, firm. It never needed mending—no one asked the elves to make the stones stay on with spells. The stones belong—like sky, like sea, like trees, like earth—to prayer itself in constant flow from age to endless age—they seem to know. They have their differences, the stones, but their opposing stresses help to make the wall secure, and eccentricities can blend— and do: ever discreet, the stones cohere in beauty of their own. As time is long the stones and spirit make their wordless song to what’s so true it’s peace: where God abides in form of bread and word. And if, and if you happen to be here one day to pray, where wall, mere wall, makes room for what’s beyond, regard our wall, and then you may recall: there’s something here that loves, that loves this wall.
*From “Mending Wall,” by Robert Frost.
Johanna Caton, O.S.B., is a Benedictine nun of Minster Abbey in England. Originally from Virginia, she lived in the U.S. until adulthood, when her monastic vocation took her to Britain. Her poems have appeared in both online and print publications, including The Christian Century, The Windhover, Heart of Flesh, Amethyst Review, The Ekphrastic Review, St Katherine Review, Fathom Magazine and the Catholic Poetry Room webpage at integratedcatholiclife.org.