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Ekphrastic art

Sister St. Thomas Aquinas McGraw

Dean's poem:

Sister Saint Thomas Aquinas McGraw
As I strolled through an old Catholic graveyard one day,
On a cross stern and plain as a soldier's I saw
A name like a clarion that sneered at decay,
A name full of magic, of...je ne sais quois!
It was "Sister Saint Thomas Aquinas McGraw"!

Ah, she was a strong-minded sister, I'll bet,
Who knew stronger curses than "Mercy!" or "Pshaw!"
And when she choked back her most apt epithet,
You could see how it stuck in the leathery craw
Of Sister Saint Thomas Aquinas McGraw.

None dared chatter or natter in this Sister's classes,
And if you forgot, it was "Out with your paw!"
She was fierce with the lads, more fierce with the lasses:
With the sting of her straight-edge, she laid down the law
Of Sister Saint Thomas Aquinas McGraw.

Like a tall stately ship, full-rigged in her habit,
Down the hallways she'd sail without roll, pitch or yaw,
But if something she spied out of order, she'd grab it
By its earlobe or nape: None could dodge the swift claw
Of Sister Saint Thomas Aquinas McGraw.

On her good name no scoffer could find the least dimple,
A chaste and obedient nun without flaw,
From the chill in her eyes to the starch in her wimple--
Even Mother Superior held her in awe,
Good Sister Saint Thomas Aquinas McGraw.

But what do we know of this nun after all?
Was she once a young girl? Every spring did she thaw
To see the first buds soft and sticky? Each fall
As she crunched through the leaves, did a sharp regret gnaw
At Sister Saint Thomas Aquinas McGraw?

All these thoughts crossed my mind in the graveyard that day
'Neath a bright wintry sky with the breeze a bit raw.
Ah, Sister, I'm sorry to meet you this way,
Where bare branches creak and a few hoarse crows caw
For Sister Saint Thomas Aquinas McGraw.

Last updated: November 5, 2008
Copyright c. 2008 by Pam Coulter Blehert. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.