Mother Teresa of Calcutta
You were a mustard seed growing great
for continents to rest on your arms.
You never abandoned anyone
but gathered flocks of outcasts
who has less dignity than mud-
matted stones or flies on
decaying bodies. You awoke the dying
to give them the last rites of comfort.
A beggar once asked you to put air
back into his lungs. Your smile
gave him the breath to bow before
God alive in you.
Your eyes glowed like cathedrals
seeing their sores and stringy
rags as scarlet vestments.
No one ever left your hospice
without a spiritual passport.
Your touch sent them higher
than the pyre smoke of Calcutta
that could never cloud the radiant faces
you saw in heaven’s windows there.
Philip C. Kolin, Distinguished Prof. of English (Emeritus) at the Univ. of Southern Mississippi has published nine collections of poems, the most recent being Emmett Till in Different States: Poems (Third World Press, 2015) and Reaching Forever: Poems (Cascade Books, Poiema Series, 2019). He has published more than 350 poems in such journals as Spiritus, Christian Century, America, The Cresset, Theology Today, US Catholic, Sojourners, St. Austin Review, Christianity and Literature, Michigan Quarterly Review, Louisiana Literature, Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry, Emmanuel, and Vocations and Prayer.