“Entering the Bath,” Nicolae Grigorescu, WikiArt.

Vaporous sound, single word I hear, breeze
Amongst tall oaks, across sunlit Irish glens
And glades: Separation. But from what? I ask
Aloud, prayerful pleas, for I, Sister Muriel,
Live in two worlds, earthly and spiritual,
At times conflicting, tempting, not for coin
Or gold, but simple things, often self-denied,
Bathing alone in cool streams, drying in warm
Sun, naked to sky and cloud, leafy branches
Overhead, one with nature I had become,
Grassy fields and knolls, memories of my
Druid years, before calling, Sister of Christian
Faith, cross-bearer, sick and injured tending.

Yet, single word still haunted, separation
From what, from whom: family, church, Ireland,
Light and darkness? Certainly not from God.
O! Angst of soul-darkening clouds! Edge of
Secluded stream I undressed, naked into
Sunlit waters, I stepped, immersed into clear
Depths, free-floating, watery womb, earth-
Sky suspended, body drifting, heart uplifted.
Alas! Surface-rising realization! First new
Breath of air, I was reborn, sins washed away,
To flowery bank, I collapsed, transformed
Sun-sleeping, newly poured wax tablet
Awaiting divine inscription.

“Harmonie,” Henri Martin, WikiArt.

Separation! I understood. With shepherd’s
Shears, my hair I cut, long-clumps to ground,
My past feet-falling, about myself I did not
Care or recognize. From earth’s vanity I had
Found separation, spare dark robes, food
Adequate for my needs, for as I accepted
Charity of others, I would return seven fold,
Not in silver, but in Christ’s understanding,
Forgiveness, empathy, healing benefit of
Herbs, teas and balms. For weeks, months,
I was sick of heart, chain fettered. This morn,
My step lighter, solitude is oft required,
Prayerful laves, keys to spiritual renewal.

Inspired by ““Letter II” of “Letters of Saint Basil,” Sister Muriel denies
herself simple pleasures that led to higher understanding. Present are
connections of Christianity and Druidism, water rituals, baptism and
rebirth, for Sister, inner harmony. Thanks for reading.

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