i am reading
elizabeth bishop’s unpublished poems*
by Sister Lou Ella Hickman, I.W.B.S.
pages and pages of her stillborns
among her almosts and imperfect ones
yet even these startle with their radiant words. . .
how could she see everything
after her mind’s eye took it all in
she wrote it down
often scribbling in her tight-fisted script
dark and painful like her secrets. . .
in the process
the words often quarreled back like a jealous lover. . .
then in her rare and beautiful sometimes
her chiseled music found its voice
*Edgar Allan Poe & The Juke-Box edited and annotated by Alice Quinn, 2006.
* * * * *
Sister Lou Ella is a former teacher and librarian. She is a certified spiritual director as well as a poet and writer. Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines such as America, First Things, Emmanuel, Third Wednesday, and new verse news as well as in four anthologies: The Night’s Magician: Poems about the Moon, edited by Philip Kolin and Sue Brannnan Walker, Down to the Dark River edited by Philip Kolin, Secrets edited by Sue Brannan Walker and After Shocks: The Poetry of Recovery for Life-Shattering Events edited by Tom Lombardo. She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2017. Her first book of poetry entitled she: robed and wordless was published in 2015 (Press 53).