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W. F. Lantry

Honorable Mention 2010 Utmost Christian Poetry Contest $100

About this Christian Poet:
W. F. Lantry received his Licence and Maîtrise from L’Université de Nice, M.A. from Boston University and Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from University of Houston. He is the recipient of the Paris/Atlantic Young Writers Award, and was a finalist in the 2009 Fernando Rielo International Award in Mystical Poetry. In 2010, he won the CutBank Patricia Goedicke Prize in Poetry, and was commended for his entry to the International Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine in the U.K. His work has appeared in Gulf Coast, Prairiefire, Unsplendid, Tower Journal and The Wallace Stevens Journal. He works in Washington, DC.

About this Poem:
This poem is part of a larger narrative, describing a spiritual journey of Christian mysticism. On this journey, everything is allegorical: the characters, the events, even the landscape. Within this landscape, the poet must construct a spiritual place in which readers may sing and pray. In this section, the poet learns the nature of spiritual song. He speaks, his companion transforms the words into song, and they are given harmony through divine presence. These collaborative songs make the completion of their journey possible.

from Chaplet for Our Lady

XX

As constitutive presence, both through wounds
and sanctifying grace, transforms our hearts,
so may ecstatic correspondences
of song remake our joy and anguish, give
the breath of spirit as a hidden flame,
and bind us into one before the dawn.

The three of us have found a quiet rest
near where three roses interweave their canes
and I, in contemplation, speak the words
of what we see around us, doves or thorns,
and as I speak, she sings, the selfsame words
transformed within her voice, and then the third

resolves the voice into a melody.
We sing together of the growing light
and of light bonds that hold us here as one.
We sing of flames that guide us on our path,
as if she cleansed my lips with burning coals
and then held in her hands the cooling dew.

We share the living water, and we sing
of joy and anguish, vessels for the words
that fly into our contemplating hearts,
as open as the lotus, when the stars
are most intense, before the dawn unfolds,
whose patterns are the pearls of our sky.

Copyright ©2010 by W. F. Lantry