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 
as John gazed
at him.
We all grew 

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–
design squirms against
our restraining

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.  

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