Requiescat for Sister Helena

Sister Helena Brand, SNJM

You knew the fragrances awakening
Beneath your fingertips, the breath of clay
Unearthed, the dank aroma of decay
When working compost in --- these odors cling.

Your blossoms were the vows within your ring
Poured forth as rainbows in a garden spray,
The nuances of hue, the applique
Of light and shade, the nimbus, shimmering.

You taught a generation how to bring
The world to words, to make the colors stay
Like calla lilies caught in cloissone,
The lines exult like warblers on the wing.

You earned your accolades; the nurturing
Of fertile minds is like the interplay
Of water, seed and soil, a roundelay
Whose verses sound a bold refrain, a string

Stretched taut across the years, a murmuring
Of leaves where no wind blows, the tiers of gray
When mist enshrouds, the stream whose leaps betray
Its bounds, a buzzing bee --- a sudden sting ---

The gentle swaying of an empty swing,
The blush that tints the sky at break of day,
The winter sun. To those who would repay
Their debts, the gift of love means everything.

I see you on your knees. I hear you sing
Of life and love. I watch you rise to pray
Among the tiger lilies on display
And circle there for hours, your arms afling.

The curtain's drawn, and I, imagining
I hear your voice, the tone cantabile,
And see your face at peace, toss my bouquet.
God speed your journey to Eternal Spring.