A former Catholic nun, Antoinette Kennedy has blessed readers with a poetic juxtaposition of Paradise–one of golden civilized grandeur with nothing natural, and one hoped for by the narrator, consisting of earthy goodness and authenticity. The final four lines are enough to invigorate and nourish the body and soul. Antoinette told The Dewdrop, “My hope is that this poem finds kinship with those who watch creation mirror our inner space–at times limited, at times infinite.”
Soul in the Sky
When I die, do not require my presence
in promised mansions of eternal rest.
I have no wish to drowse in gold
or fawn on ghosts luminous in robes.
Please, no beast, sacrificial lamb, angel
wings circling, snaring me. Why dangle
rewards of sleep or headache from a diadem
upon my head as blessings of the chosen?
Do not include me in the group stunned
by pools burning, a horse and rider gunning
for devotion. Spare me, I beg, raptures
repressing us once-mortal, newly risen.
I rue the day “The former earth will pass
away.” Why exchange meadows for a city
of jasper streets and walls gem-electrified?
No sun, moon? How tragic for us glorified.
When I die, awaken me, splash my face
in rain, ready for dawn, my boots laced,
on my way toward family, thrush song
rabbit thump, dog strut. Heaven enough.
Antoinette Kennedy, author of the memoir Far from Home, is a former Catholic nun and teacher living in Hillsboro, Oregon. She earned a BA in literature from Marylhurst College and an MA in Franciscan Studies from St. Bonaventure University. A recipient of an Oregon Literary Arts and Fishtrap fellowship, her poetry has appeared in online and print publications, such as Passager, Wingless Dreamer, Snapdragon: A Journal of Art and Healing, Ariel, and first place in the 2021 Joan Ramseyer Memorial Poetry Contest.