Safe-Keeping by Mary Priscilla Howes


You two or three who gather together,

Gather together in holy hour,

Invoking an unearthly power

When all around seems earthly power,

Blindness to the radiant light,

Indifference to the petal’s sheen,

The silken wing, the winged seed.


You must guard the future’s need,

Cherish dreams in the seeds of dreams,

(The bulb is safer far than the flower.)

Toughen the sheath, wind the cocoon,

Shelter the spark, remember the tune.


These things will be, dear two or three,

These will emerge, these will endure,

Be very sure, be very sure,

So store the splendor, hold it in trust,

Or life will be ashes, death will be dust.


— Mary Priscilla Howes