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Seminarians of the Seminole

I have decided to write a small poem-prayer for each section or leg of our trip. We are grouping them roughly in terms of impressions and common culture or feel. The intention is to join with the wonderful work already being done to promote vocations in the area. We have discovered initiatives such as the Elijah Cup and a wonderful Good Shepherd Rosary to promote vocations in the Archdiocese in Mobile. These will be discussed in greater detail in another posting as we hope to share all these and perhaps gain greater awareness ourselves. But as we leave the Dioceses of St. Augustine, Pensacola-Tallahassee, Savannah and the Archdiocese of Mobile, we join this prayer to yours and pray for vocations and we give thanks to the warmth and reception we received.

Southern Cypress
Like disciples gathered
Round the amber-tannin glass
The pulpit-pond that rooted-ripples now,
Reflects, refracts and presses
A concelebrated mass;

Loblolly lovely ladies keep
Their draping veils of Spanish moss instead of lace
And Psalm-fronds fans the flirting face
And sparrow-cricket choir
Sing Spirit spring to sprinkle wash
The swampen mire
And vest the vestige of the deep
With deep.

Vines that ought to grow
Up Gothic pines as faith that clings,
As veins taut-tight with dogma,
Are gnawed or clawed
But still have grip to lift aloft in awe
Instead of bells, the cricket sings
The cascading elevation.

Heal the fractured forest, Lord!
River shards shimmer;
Obsidian oblates whisper
Singing silent hymns and
Sylvan syllables of sugar cane
With the middle-spine of the palmetto
Bending at the waist of velvet deference to
The bone-bough knuckle of
That Old Hickory
And the rolling Oak
Which made the difference.
In the style of Baptistry.

The ample winter’s silver-shiver
and seasons shriven-sweated heat
Sing Saints of the Suwanee;
Fishing in the creek a’whistlin’
Swinging on porch a’creakin’
Upon the aching backs of rotting planks,
The arching piano keys that
Blind accompany
The clarinet of bull frog croakin’.

This is the hour of the belles vêpres
To strike the cascabel viper
And with Flannery sing
The Magnificat of the Magnolia
From Charles V to Chattahoochee.

We litter-leave this littoral with this intention:

Lord bring seminarians
For these noble heirs of Seminoles.
To baptize Catholic in the waters of the Baptist Creek
And fish for souls with fishing poles.
And with the golden tongue of Catholic angels speak
From vantages that are Marian.

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