A nun so pale, who as well as the sins of the world
bore on her own weary shoulders my sins too
- on shoulders turned waxen, as if at the last kiss of a god -
was glimpsed, like an angel in streets I thought I knew.
A nun so pale, cold as the slab on the grave,
with ash-coloured eyes, like the ash when passion's fire has burned down to its embers,
with thin red lips - two cords restraining her sighs -
is frozen in my memory, a cold memory long-remembered.
From prayer (sincerely!) she comes, and to prayer she does return...
Between her eyes, her lips, her fingers: the prayers sleep everywhere.
Without her prayers, the world - who knows - how would it fare?
Although they haven't, her prayers, yet brought it the morning.
Oh nun so pale, bearing love for the saints,
burning with ecstasy before them, like the candle in your cell,
revealing yourself to them... I mean no good to the saints:
Don't pray for me; I want stroke by stroke to drag you to hell.
I and you, o nun, two ends of a rope:
two forces each trying to pull the other their way -
the struggle is bitter, and no-one knows how it ends -
and so let the rope strain, and let us play.