About Blessings and Fish – a poem by Johanna Caton, O.S.B.

 Leonardo da Vinci, 
The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne and the Infant Saint John the Baptist
ca. 1500
National Gallery, London
About Blessings and Fish


My son, 
the Blessing, 
squirmed like a fish in my arms.

My mother 
said, You are 
my blessing. Now sit on my knee, she teased.  
I perched, and my squirmy Blessing
blessed John with his little 
fin,
swimming, 
tummy-down, 
as John gazed
at him.
We all grew 
still.

Then I saw: blessings,
can often be squirmy things.
I said so to her, part play.  But I pondered
their ways
and turns:

blessings have their own intent–
divine 
design squirms against
our restraining
embrace.

My mother blessed me then, eyes 
deep as a spectre’s abyss,
she pointed upward, 
her hand so like
a sceptre

Johanna Caton, O.S.B., is a Benedictine nun.  She was born in the United States and lived there until adulthood, when her monastic vocation took her to England, where she now resides.  Her poems have appeared in The Christian Century, The Windhover, The Ekphrastic Review, Green Hills Literary Lantern, The Catholic Poetry Room, and other venues, both online and print.  

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s