Lean woman, near eighty, with the weight of wisdom and the lightness of humility seeming almost to carry her, themselves.  This is one of the great moments of my life, seeing a great woman from a near distance, hearing her with my own ears.  I have not outlived her yet, and will never, I know.  And she loves Hafiz.  Of course, of course.  Here is one she didn’t read, but I read.  It’s from her newest collection, Thirst, from a poem called “More Beautiful Than the Honey Locust Tree are the Words of the Lord”:

7.
I had such a longing for virtue, for company.
I wanted Christ to be as close as the cross I wear.
I wanted to read and serve, to touch the altar linen.
Instead I went back to the woods where not a single tree
turns its face away.

Instead I prayed, oh Lord, let me be something
useful and unpretentious.
Even the chimney swift sings.
Even the cobblestones have a task to do, and do it well.

Lord, let me be a flower, even a tare; or a sparrow.
Or the smallest bright stone in a ring worn by someone
brave and kind, whose name I will never know.

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