Section title text:  Who we are.

SCHREIBECKE

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Eine Sammlung von Gedichten von Elizabeth Von Leven fcJ (RIP)

Elizabeth became a Faithful Companion of Jesus in 1950. An Australian, she spent most of her active life as a teacher. Later in her life, she began to devote much of her time to writing and has had some novels and very many poems published. She said of herself: I am at all times to write the God within me' -- not in preachy or pious terms, but in good stories that entertain and make people think about their lives and their God. For me, it is a call within a call and a call to express a call.

Elizabeth died, very suddenly, Easter 1998; she leaves the memory of a loving, faithful woman.

Some of her poems follow below:

 

 WHERE IS YOUR HOME?

Spirit of God, where is your home
If not in our minds and hearts?
Travelling through time in ages past,
Laden with hope for future years,
Bringing hope in spite of fears,
Blending love with bitter tears,
you bring your joy at last.

Spirit of God, where is your joy
If not in our daily lives?
Travelling through time with endless care,
Laden with peace for all in need,
Planting our lives with your love seed,
Lavishing gifts in Word and Deed -
Your sword will do and dare.

Spirit of God, where is your force
If not in the lives of all?
Travelling through time, alert to respond,
Laden with love for everyone,
Gentling fears in the warmth of your sun,
Leading our hearts till all is done
your freedom breaks life's bond.

 

HIDDEN STARS

Reach out, for stars lie hidden in your mind
Reach up and catch the wind that only stars may find.
Reach ...and let the wind take you where it will
Flowing with its ripples, and breathing in your fill.
Move in graceful billows of everlasting thought
Seek the stars and find them
in all your life has wrought. 

 

 

PREMONITION

Down the pathway she weaves
and the walking stick beats time
to the rhythm of her shoes.
Plump mothering fingers wave at me,
hair catches the day in silvered layers
and laughter lines defy crisscross wrinkles
stirring the serenity of her face
glad to see me visiting after weeks bound
by the school's never-ending ties.

'Look in there, darling. A surprise.'
More clothes. She keeps me
like a queen ... I'm grateful, but guilty,
for her generosity and my own meagre return.
How can I match this outpouring?

Fresh scenes on the table. Cream cake.
Best china. Tomorrow I must go again
and leave her alone among her dainty
decor, needlework and lavender,
nothing out of place.

She'll visit the neighbours, of course,
carry gifts, share their news
and the local kindly gossip,
Soothe hurts, excuse failings;
She'll go to Mass and pray betimes
especially for those in need,
but she'll count the lonely moments
until her only child returns.

'We're going out for dinner - down to
the restaurant. Just for a change, dear -
a treat for you.' Unusual the oven cold,
no roast dinner today,
no freshly baked apples and custard.

Neatly encased in her best red coat
looser than it used to be
her body, near to withered wasting,
sagging beneath the folds,
she clings to my supporting arm,
shoulders droop as if in adoration,
marigolds reflect her smile.

My throat is suddenly dry.

GOD'S PEOPLE

They sit on trams, God's people,
And stare from windows
which might as well be blank walls -
Tired faces, lined with life,
Naked faces, curiously innocent
in the shadows of light,
Masked faces, hiding unknown pain,
or struggle, or determination,
and much more besides.
They sit on trams, God's people,
Each one a universe.

 

 

TAKE MY MEMORY

Take, God, receive
my memory,
paging the past,
creating the future
twisting the present;
for you are the NOW.

 

 

THE PROMISE

Faithful Companions of Jesus.
What a grace!
Marie Madeleine humble, loved,
hid her face
I thirst, He cried,
for you, for me,
for all whose pain
biting into a heart of stone,
stretches across the centuries.
Parched and dry as they may be,
they will know
the pent up yearning
of the living Christ
thirsting for love. 

 

 

HAUNTED HOUSE
A Poem for Children

The moon shone through the window pane;
The casement rattled like a chain
Grey spectres floated in the air,
And shadows danced upon the stair.

Inside, the floorboards creaked and groaned,
Outside, the wind both shrieked and moaned.
Old house haunted, it was said,
By many souls long since dead.

The boy, with big eyes popping wide,
Wondered why he'd come inside,
For if curiosity killed the cat,
Would sticky-nosing knock him flat?

Around him in the dusty hall,
He heard a ghostly, ghastly call.
He shook with fear; a shadow moved
To greet him in the solitude.

His throat was dry; he made no sound
His feet were riveted to the ground
A headless rider, blood-red knight?
A wild-eyed lady clothed in white?

A limbless body, hunk encased?
A tiny child with face defaced?
He heard it now across the floor,
And shrieking loud, he reached the door -

Indignant squawk and flapping wings
It flew intent on horrid things.
Right lusty was his yelling then,
As he fled away from the fat, old hen!

Um diesen Namen, Treue Gefährtinnen Jesu,
          zu tragen, würde ich alles hergeben,
                    alles was ich bin ...     (Marie Madeleine)