It is the same infrequent star,?
The all-mysterious light,
That like a watcher, gazing on
The changes of the night,
Toward the hill of Bethlehem took
Its solitary flight.
It is the same infrequent star;
Its sameness startleth me,
Although the disk is red as blood,
And downward silently
It looketh on another hill,?
The hill of Calvary!
Nor noon, nor night; for to the west
The heavy sun doth glow;
And, like a ship, the lazy mist
Is sailing on below,?
Between the broad sun and the earth
It tacketh to and fro.
There is no living wind astir;
The bat’s unholy wing
Threads through the noiseless olive trees,
Like some unquiet thing
Which playeth in the darkness, when
The leaves are whispering.
Mount Calvary! Mount Calvary!
All sorrowfully still,
That mournful tread, it rends the heart
With an unwelcome thrill,?
The mournful tread of them that crowd
Thy melancholy hill!....
To God! to God! how eloquent
The cry, as if it grew,
By those cold lips unuttered, yet
All heartfelt rising through,?
“Father in heaven! forgive them, for
They know not what they do!”
- From “The Star of Calvary” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) was an American writer better known for his fiction than his poetry. Yet his interest in history, morality and religion, which became trademarks of his fiction, including his most famous work, The Scarlet Letter (1850), also carried over into his poetic output. His youngest child, Rose Hawthorne, who followed her father’s footsteps, also became a writer with a concern for religious matters, so much so that she converted to Catholicism and after entering religious life, she founded the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne in 1900. The members of this celebrated community continue to this day to devote their lives to caring for those suffering from incurable cancer.