Christine Valters Paintner

Christine Valters Paintner is an American poet living in Galway, Ireland and the author of twelve books of nonfiction and two collections of poems: Dreaming of Stones (2019) and The Wisdom of Wild Grace, forthcoming in fall 2020 from Paraclete Press. Her poems have appeared in several journals in North America, UK, and Ireland including Tales from the Forest, Crannog, Stinging Fly, The Blue Nib, Headstuff, The Galway Review, Boyne Berries, impspired, Bangor Journal, Tiferet, Spiritus, Presence, and Anchor. You can find more of her writing and poetry at AbbeyoftheArts.com.

St. Clare and the Cat

She reclines with a sigh,
an ache spreads through her,
she knows she must not fight
this time of rest, 
reaches for her yarn
which slips from her hands
across the stone floor
spinning like the cosmos. 

Her cat, waiting for a moment
like this, pounces on
the fleeing fleece, 
bats the ball of blue 
between paws, 
as it unravels, 
tangles around his tail, 
the saint can’t help but laugh,
grateful for the levity
of forgetting herself, 

and the yarn
is back in her hands
in a flash. The cat settles      
his warm ribs into her lap 
and watches closely 
as she begins 
to weave new worldsfrom wool and joy.

St. Francis and the Wolf

The city trembled at the wolf
outside its gates, fangs
fierce, howling with hunger,
fur thick with blood.
 
Francis approaches softly,
palms open. When the wolf lunges 
his breath stays slow and steady,
looks with eyes of love,
 
smiles and bows
and the beast whimpers,
licks the monk’s salty face,
tail a brown banner waving,
 
and follows Francis
through the streets
like an old friend,
to the wonder of all.
 
Except perhaps it’s not
such a wonder that
when we open the gate
to all that is fierce
 
and fearful inside us,
when we hold our hands
like begging bowls,
our hearts like candles,
 
the wolf within will want
to lay its soft head
upon our laps and we see
there is no more wolf and me
 
just one wild love,
one wild hunger.

My Last Poem

(after Br. Paul Quenon)
 
My last poem will
savor your warm hand
pressed into mine, my other hand
resting on the dog’s wiry fur,
chest rising and falling,
she rolls over to display her belly
telling me I am not done quite yet.
 
My last poem will look around
the room, full of many unread books,
and I will finally be able to rest into
all that is unfinished, the dishes
still piled by the sink from our
last dinner together, hearing
the clink of glasses, friends asking
for more asparagus, knowing
there is so much more than food here.
 
My last poem will see
a vase of yellow tulips on the table,
a single petal falling, a golden bowl of gladness
welcoming its slow demise,
and the open window.

4 thoughts on “Christine Valters Paintner

  1. The poems are lovely and elicit such beautiful and heartwarming images which will stay with me through the day. Thank you!

    Like

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