A bruised reed

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Poetic Responses to Psalms and Scripture


A bruised reed he will not break,

and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;

he will faithfully bring forth justice.


                   Isaiah 42:3



How afraid we are of the dark—

the blue-green shade which blooms

on our thigh, from the hidden table corner


or the hand which strikes,

a word slashing the heart—

we experience it all.


Even an unseen bruise

evidences blood roused

by inevitable surprise.


Perhaps we come to expect it—

wounds received again and again

as if, like a sacrament—


until they define us.

Hurt circulates by blood

as breath does,


and Grace blooms by its own surprise:

gift of tears,

embrace of ourselves—


the magic kiss

a mother offers her child,

true comfort in darkness


even if it can't 

make the pain go away.




-- By:  Ms. Karen Jessee, OP - - a member of the Dominican Laity, St. Mary Magdelene Group in Raleigh, NC.  She writes and teaches, living with her husband and children near Chapel Hill, North Carolina.


Face to Face Archive

Please click on a Title below for Karen's "Prayer Poems":
(The newest ones are listed first.)

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