A poem written by the young Thomas Merton for St Lucy. Lucia of Syracuse, CE 283—304, killed as a Christian martyr during the Diocletian persecution. She was according to legend tortured by eye-gouging and is the patron saint of all those who suffer with eye trouble or blindness. Some ghoulish and surreal images of this saint — but the association with blindness and light may derive from the name Lucia with its Latin root luc- for light.
Lucy, whose day is in our darkest season,
(Although your name is full of light,)
We walkers in the murk and rain and flesh and sense,
Lost in the midnight of our dead world’s winter solstice
Look for the fogs to open on your friendly star.
We have long since cut down the summer of our history;
Our cheerful towns have all gone out like fireflies in October.
The fields are flooded and the vines are bare:
How have our long days dwindled, and now the world is frozen!
Locked in the cold jails of our stubborn will,
Oh, hear the shovels growling in the gravel.
This is the way they’ll make our beds forever,
Ours, whose Decembers have put out the sun:
Doors of whose souls are shut against the summertime!
Martyr, whose short day sees our winter and our Calvary,
Show us some light, who seem forsaken by the sky;
We have so dwelt in darkness that our eyes are screened
And all but blinded by the weakest ray.
Hallow the vespers and December of our life, O
Console our solstice with your friendly day.