His Greatest Seal: Poems by the Rev. Francis Quintin-Arthur

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The Unquenchable Parental Love

To Mary
To Mother
Mother’s Love
Virgin Mother

To Mary

You too were a young woman
Not so different from others
Yet in difference—very far
For that firm faith defies description
And that humility is unquestionable

When the bearer unfolded
The tiding so tremendously transporting
The prediction generating pious joy
With what lowliness did you demand
     how it could be
For indeed your maidenhood was touched by none
Behold, a paragon of perfection
Mark the prayer magnifying the Lord

Then the word was made flesh

On that joyful night
No mansion did you seek
Nor even a lowly hut
But a manger

His being blossomed out
As it were, the morning glory at sunrise
And hark, melodious music sung by angelic voices

The wise followed in due time
Like sunflowers trailing the floating sun
Discreetly chasing the leading light
Bringing before Him
Dazzling gifts of singular significance

You raised a Son of humble greatness
You rejoiced in Him
And suffered with Him a joyful sorrow
You saw Him tried and heard man’s word
You saw the cross and He who bore it
You saw the thorns surrounding His head
You stood at the foot of the heavy crossed wood
And wept a tear only a mother could weep
You heard Him mocked and you saw Him mute
You saw the piercing spear paving path
     for blood and water
You heard Him scream
Lowering His head
The innocent convict, your Son

Mothers have been in existence
Mothers are begotten
Mothers are born
But of all these mothers
Who can compare with you
Whom no tomb could contain
Who are the mother
     and the daughter
     of your own Son
Who is our Brother
Our Brother who died for man
Man, whose sins had shut him out from the Father
Father, with whom you found favor
And you, who are the mother of billions
Yet a virgin

Children of God, your mother
Mother of God, your children


You’ve picked for me, Lord
The very best of fathers
Not as close as mother was
But that’s ’cause he was keeping guard
Against all that might harm any under his care
At the door he stood with pride for child
He came to hold when all was safe
He went away, he came at night
He brought the food, he guarded our home
Not many words have been written about him
For he was always the silent one
The quiet one, always looking around
He held me not as many times
For he had no milk for feeding me
He had the strength to make me strong
To make me strong of heart like him
I’ve learned from him, this father dear
He taught me the good he’d learned in years gone
I thank you, Lord, for a man like this
For only from you can such a man come
So when it is time for him to leave
To take his place among those gone before us
Lord, let the saints and the throng above
Be pleased to sing him to his rest
For a man like this should stay with you
To live in joy forevermore

To Mother

My mother, Lord, my mother dear
A gift unique, a gift of love
She came from you with life for me
And rears me and lifts me up
Lord, she cares for me all day and night
When I’m awake she stays up with me
She tucks me in to sleep at night
She bears me and bears with me
And when I sleep she’s still watching
She prays for me and smiles on me
Though sound asleep I know she’s there
She loves me most when all despise
She lives with me and lives for me
In place of her whom will I have
I’ll have none else for mom but her
You’ve picked her just for me, my Lord
And I thank you, Lord, all praise to you
Grant her life, a good long one
And when you call her home to rest
Please let the angels sing her home
Before our loving Mother on high
To rest in the arms of our dear Lord
Amid the cherubim and seraphim

Mother’s Love

Once upon a time, a blazing inferno I observed.
What a sight!
Furnace reaching up to the high ceiling
And, charring in this,
Lifelong treasures of toil and memories.
Numerous the sympathies gathered!
Then in rushed from nowhere, through the crowd,
A mother wailing onward to the fire.
All gave way to her strength
As she shoved her way right into
This burning inferno.
She was no firefighter
But she’d fight every fire
To get to her child,
Though this was her last fight,
For when the fire’s fury was abated
She was discovered burnt to death.

Virgin Mother

Virgin mother 
Mysterious truth
Virgin mother
  Bittersweet yes
Virgin mother no
With God all things
are possible
  Was she with God?
With God
The Word was born of her
Believe in God?
Believe in His word? 
Virgin mother possible,
according to His word
That was what she said
  Thanks be to God
For what? 
  For her
For her yes


Parents are proud of their children
And love them still
Even when many love them not
Prouder even more of the child
Who is deemed good and also proud of them
Still the other child
Whose behavior is not recommendable
Parents still love much

If they love so much
He that is not good
Then can you well imagine
The love bestowed on him
Who is so good to them

If Christ loves us still
When we still sinners are
What magnitude the love
He showers on those
Who try to love him well!

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