On Christmas, For Karen

By Michael Novak on December 25, 2009 in Published Articles

Full of grace!
Full of grace.
Full of grace… !

Mother, who this day
brought us Our Love
and our Redeemer
Take into your care a mother like yourself,
Our much loved, so-loved Karen.
Honor her for her self-sacrifice
Who gave her life for us
And especially for me
She gave up too much art
So dear to her for mine
She did not count on dying first
But left so much she longed to do unfinished.

Please embrace her and comfort her
And speak to her with love
Remind her of her words of you
As she watched “The Passion,”
Scrubbing harder with her tears
The dearest blood of your dear Son.
And how she loved your “Magnificat.”

Please, Good Lady, Mother,
Speak to her with tender love
As for ages you have been known to do,
Take her by the hand to those she loves,
John Paul the Second, Father Richard,
Irving, Bill, Clare, Avery and Eunice,
And, God willing that he’s there,
Oskar Kokoschka, who called her
“My little darling Karen,” and singled out
Her talent and her promise for all to hear.

Take her, too, to all the others whom she loved.
Sts. Thomas, Teresa, John o’ the Cross,
And John of the Apocalypse,
T.S. Eliot, Rilke, Dostoevsky,
And all of those with whom she long communed.
Take her around, dear Mother, honor
Her self-sacrifice.

If Heaven is a conversation, dearest Hostess,
Take her kindly where she will be happiest –
For her, that is, where she can learn the most.
Shepherd her, protect her,
But do not think she is too shy–
Give her your smile and let her go her way.

Published in First Things Online January 13, 2010

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