In Motherhouse, Kathleen Jesme takes the reader on a journey with a young novice through the heart of Mystery. Jesme's poems, which investigate religious life in a convent in the 1960s, are assembled from many fragments: juxtapositions of place and time (childhood and novitiate), shifting scale (the minuteness of an "old beige comb from home," the boundlessness of a "three-axled God"), and varying poetic forms. Jesme explores the hidden, the provisional, the silent—that which does not obey the rules of the light or submit to its boundaries.
An intensely lyrical work, Motherhouse is a cloth woven from disparate voices and structures, expressing both the deep divisions of the self and the longing for a whole that may be ultimately shaped.
The convent, then prairie: stretches
itself across the Great Plains,
grabs the bank of the Red River of the North
in one hand
and the Rockies in the other
and pulls: you can see
until your sight fails
is in the way
where something other should be
there is only your darkening
like bone, filleted clean in the wind
From Motherhouse by Kathleen Jesme. Copyright 2004 by Kathleen Jesme. All rights reserved.
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