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Karen Winterburn

Best Rhyming Poem: 2008 Utmost Christian Poetry Contest $200

About this Christian Poet:
Karen Winterburn lives in Glenview, Illinois with her husband. They have four grown sons and two beautiful granddaughters. Karen works in Adult Faith Formation in her parish church, St. Catherine Laboure. She has written articles and contributed chapters to two books on evangelization and apologetics. She has been writing poetry for many years as a means of understanding and expressing a relationship with God.

About this Poem:
This is an ode to the man who helped me say "yes" to a closer relationship with Christ. As my spiritual director, he listened to me and he listened to the Lord. He prayed for me and continued helping me even through his illness. He helped me discern the movement of Christ toward me, and encouraged me to respond to the Lord with all my heart.

The Spiritual Director
In Memory of Donald Hayes, SJ: 1925–2005

I
He spoke of You as if to share a meal
with me, a hungry stranger; spared no grace
or table courtesy that might reveal
the savor of the Bread set at my place.
He listened at the curtain of my doubt,
absolving me, I thought, for having qualms
at such a feast. It seems instead he caught
your eye, heard footsteps of the Host about:
expected You? You show me turned out palms,
You and he so pleased at the Wine You brought.

II
He spoke of you to Me as evening fell,
agreed to keep the kitchen open late,
serve one more pilgrim's table: he did well
to speak of Me and set the finest plate.
Your rags of doubt he skeined and wound till tight
and soaked in kerosene of faith and pain
were set ablaze at first spark of your will.
Flame-spill bathed night, your eyes, my hands in light:
surprised you? Wine: red; prayer: white; doubt: slain.
He often spoke of you, speaks of you still.

Copyright ©2008 by Karen Winterburn