by Johanna Caton
The buck stood at the border of dark forest and meadow,
looking toward the open space. Even a prodigy of evil
big as a mountain would have felt dwarfed by that buck,
I think – standing there with a nobler bigness impossible
to best, and crowned with a headdress of horn.
His antlers scripted their power-song on sky’s blue morning,
surely for this moment born. His buck-neck thick, tree-trunk
more than wing, yet air-born enough, its line like a barque’s
mast above those waves his body threw as he reared
and leapt and leapt the meadow’s breadth.
How something so earthed and unlike flight could bound and fly,
stag-leap and pound ground like waves’ shore-drums –
victory here! A conqueror not warrior –
so like the one who came back,
back from death.
Johanna Caton, O.S.B. is a Benedictine nun of Minster Abbey in Kent, England. She was born in the United States and lived there until adulthood, when her monastic vocation took her to England. She writes poetry as a way of deepening her understanding of the presence of God in her life. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Christian Century, The Ekphrastic Review, The Windhover, St Austin Review, The Amethyst Review, The Catholic Poetry Room webpage at Integrated Catholic Life, and other publications, both print and online.