The Poem "Humility"


Humility is to be still
under the weathers of God's will.
It is to have no hurt surprise
when morning's ruddy promise dies,
when wind and drought destroy, or sweet
spring rains apostatize in sleet,
or when the mind and month remark
a superfluity of dark.
It is to have no troubled care
for human weathers anywhere.
And yet it is to take the good
with the warm hands of gratitude.
Humility is to have place
deep in the secret of God's face
where one can know, past all surmise,
that God's great will alone is wise,
where one is loved, where one can trust
a strength not circumscribed by dust.
It is to have a place to hide
when all is hurricane outside.




Jessica Powers. "Humility." from The Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers (Washington D.C.: ICS Publications, 1999).

Reprinted with permission of the copyright holder, the Carmelite Monastery at Pewaukee, Wisconsin.

This excerpt appeared in Magnificat in November 2013.


Jessica Powers (1905-1988), a Discalced Carmelite nun and member of the Carmel of the Mother of God, Pewaukee, Wisconsin, has been hailed as one of America's greatest religious poets.  She approved this anthology, the most extensive collection of her poems, only five weeks before her death.  The spiritual legacy of Jessica Powers is rich because her poetry documents the repeated rhythms and recurrent cycles of spiritual aridity and spiritual consolation experienced by human beings while engaged in an authentic relationship with a living and loving God.  Through her writings, Americans have been introduced to biblical and Carmelite themes set in a language and context which they could identify and integrate into their own personal lives. Her books in print include The Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers.

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