Poems of SR. TERESA, Carmelite of Lisieux

known as
The "Little Flower of Jesus,"



To a young Sister named Mary Magdalen, for her Profession day.

On this glad day, dear Magdalene,
We come to sing with praises due
The wonderful, strong, gentle chain
That binds your heavenly Spouse and you.
Oh, hear us tell the charming story
Of how a shepherdess once heard
A Monarch bid her share His glory,
And how she answered to his word.

The shepherdess sing,
Whom the Heavenly King
With glory crowned head
Doth here, this day, at Carmel, wed!

This shepherdess, so small, so poor,
While spinning, kept her flocks with care.
She loved the flowers beside her door,
The birds that fluttered here and there;
She knew what tongue the river spake,
The verdant woods, the skies above;
She loved them for her Master's sake,
As tokens of His boundless love.

But oh! she loved most tenderly
Jesus and Mary. All her heart
She gave, and they loved Melanie,
And came to speak with her apart.

"Will you," to her the sweet Queen said,
"Near me, on Carmel, come to dwell?
Will you be Magdalene, instead
Of Melanie, and serve God well?

"Child, quit your flock, seek God alone,
Nor mourn the lambs you ne'er shall see!
Upon this mountain all my own,
Jesus your only Lamb shall be."
"Oh, come! thy soul has charmed My sight,"
Spake Jesus, "Come, be thou My bride!
Who gave to God all earth's delight!
Come, reign forever at My side!"

Gladly the humble shepherdess
Responded to that gentle call;
And following Mary, swift to bless,
She came to Carmel's lofty wall.

'Tis you, O little Magdalene!
We feast with, on this joyous day!
The shepherdess is now a Queen,
Near Christ, her Spouse and King alway.

O! cherished Sister, you know well
To serve our God, it is to reign!
Our Jesus did not cease to tell
This lesson through His life of pain;
"Among the great, on heaven's height,
Who would stand first eternally
Must choose on earth the lowest place,
To hide from sight the least to be."

Happy are you, O Magdalene!
In your fixed lot in Carmel's home,
Can there, for you, be any pain
Who here so close to heaven come?

Both Martha's, Mary's is your part
To pray, to wait upon the Lord -
To love Him here with all your heart,
And have Him for your great reward.

Yet if, sometimes, sharp suffering
Shall come to flood your soul with night,
From out your pain will gladness spring
For God you suffer. What delight!
His tenderness, divine and sweet,
Shall make you very soon forget
The thorns that lie beneath your feet,
The tears with which your eyes were wet.

The angels envy you today!
They fain would taste your joy, Marie!
Your ecstasy, divinely gay
The spouse of Jesus Christ to be.
Soon, soon among the angel bands,
Among the Virtues, Thrones and Powers,
Your Spouse and King in heaven's bright lands
You, too, shall praise through endless hours.

This shepherdess soon,
So poor 'neath the moon,
In heaven a queen,
Beside her King shall yet be seen.

               November 20,1894.


July 29, 1894.

Remember thou how once upon this earth
Thy joy was found in caring for us all!
Hear now the prayer of those who owe their birth
To thee, dear father; bless us when we call!
A little while ago, in Heaven, our home above,
Thou to our mother's side hast come with saintly love.
Together now ye reign,
in Heaven made one again.
O'er us keep guard!

Remember thy first born, thy bright Marie,
She who was dearest ever in thy sight;
Remember how her charm, her gaiety,
Her love, her goodness, filled thee with delight,
That daily source of joy thou didst renounce for God;
And thou didst bless the band, that made thee feel His rod.
Thy "diamond" bright and fair,
Thy rarest of the rare,

Remember thou!

* SISTER TERESA was the youngest of nine children, four of whom died in infancy,
four became Carmelite nuns, and one a Visitation nun. These are the "nine lilies
bright," referred to in the poem here as forming their saintly father's coronet
in Heaven. He used to call Teresa his "little queen," Marie his "diamond,"
Pauline his "pearl." He died of paralysis, after months of helplessness, tended
by Celine. These remarks serve to explain the poem. . . .

Remember thou thy beautiful "pure pearl,"
The timid lamb once to thy tendence given!
Trusting in God, behold thy lovely girl
Guide Carmel's flock along the road to Heaven. Of thy beloved ones, "Mother" is she today:
Then come to guide even now thy darling on her way!
This Carmel of Thine own
Remember at Heaven's throne,­
Remember thou!

Remember now thy strong and ardent prayer
Made here for thy third child, thy Leonie!
God heard thee; for to her this earth so fair
But banishment and exile seems to be.
She, too, from this gay world, to God would turn aside;
She loves Him only, and becomes His bride.
Her ardent, burning sighs,
Her Heaven sent ecstasies,
Remember thou!

Remember thou thy faithful child, Celine,
Who was to thee like angel from the skies,
When close to thine the Face of Christ was seen,
Testing thy virtue by great sacrifice!
In Heaven thou reignest now; her task is past and gone;
Now unto Jesus Christ she gives her life alone.
Protect her future days,
Who very often says:
Remember thou!

And, oh! remember thou thy "little queen,"
The tender love with which her heart o'erflowed;
Remember where at first her steps have been,
And whose hand guided her along her road.

Papa, remember now, that in her infancy
Her innocence was given into God's care by thee.
Even her curling hair
To thee was dear and fair!
Remember thou!

Remember thou that on the terrace green
Her place was often on thy saintly knees;
And murmuring a prayer for her, "thy queen,"
Thou didst sing softly on the Sunday breeze,
And she, upon thy heart, saw in thy holy face
A shining of Heaven's light, a strange unearthly grace.
The beauty, sung by thee,
Was of eternity!
Remember thou!

Remember now that Sunday ever blest,
When thou a pure white flower to her didst give,
And to thy child, dose to thy bosom pressed,
Didst grant the grace on Carmel's hill to live.
Oh, father dear, recall that in her trial hour
Sincerest proofs were given of all thy loving power,
At Bayeux and at Rome
Showing her Heaven as home!
Remember thou!

Remember that the Holy Father's hand
Within the Vatican was laid on thee.
The mystery, then, thou couldst not understand,
The mystic sign of suffering to be.
But now thy children here to thee uplift their prayer;
They bless thy bitter cross, that won thy coronet rare.
Upon thy brow,- fair sight! -
There shine, in Heaven's own light,
Nine lilies brightl

               August, 1894.



"I have in my Beloved the mountains, the solitary and wooded valleys, the
foreign islands, the resounding rivers, the murmur of the amorus zephyrs, * * *
the peaceful night, so like the dawn of day, the harmonious sol­itude, -all that
charms and that augments love." -St. John of the Cross.

Oh, how I love your memory,
My childhood days, so glad and free!
To keep my innocence, dear Lord, for Thee,
Thy love came to me night and day,

So, when a little child was I,
To Thee I gave me utterly
Making with joy to Thee my promise high,
To wed a King beyond my view,--

I loved the Mother loved by Thee;
Saint Joseph, too, was friend to me.
How near Thy promised heaven seemed to be,
When shone, reflected in mine eyes,
The skies!

I loved the fields of wheat, the plain
Of emerald grass, the gentle rain.
Joy grew so great in me, 'twas almost pain!
How dear my sisters' presence there;
How fair!
I loved to cull the grass, the flowers,
Forget‑me‑nots in leafy bowers;
I found the violets' perfume, all the hours,--
­With crocus growing neath my feet,­
Most sweet.

I loved the daisies fair and white;
Our Sunday walks, - oh, what delight!
The azure skies so gloriously bright;
The birds that sang upon the tree
For me!

I loved my little shoe to grace,
Each Christmas in the chimney place;
To find it there at morn, how swift I'd race!
The feast of heaven, I hailed it well;

I loved my mother's gentle smile,
Her thoughtful glance that said, the while:
"Eternity doth me from you beguile.
I go to heaven, my God, to be
With Thee!

"I go to find, in realms above,
My angel band in Mary's love. ah, prove,
The children whom I leave below, ah, prove,
Jesu! to them their guide and stay,

Oh, how I loved my heavenly Lord,
In His blest Sacrament adored!
He bound me to Him by His given word
That He my Spouse from infancy
Would be!

I loved, upon the terrace fair,
My father's reveries to share;
To feel his gentle kisses on my hair.
I loved that father who shall tell
How well!

Teresa, seated on his knee,
Listened with me there, tenderly,
To those melodious songs he sang for me.
Those accents sweet I can not yet

O Memory, what joys you bring!
You wake the thought of many a thing
That flew from me, long since, like birds awing.
Faces I see, voices I hear
How dear!

At sunset's hour I loved to be,
Teresa, heart to heart with thee;
Thy soul was as my very own to me.
My sister friend, my love, wert thou
As now.

Hand clasped in hand our hymns we sang.
Above earth's noisy clash and clang,
Our voices through the holy twilight rang.
Our dreams were then to Carmel given,
And heaven.

In Switzerland and Italy
The fairest scenes were shown to me;
But fairer yet I deemed the sight to be
Of him, - Father of Christendom,­
At Rome!

The Coliseum's hallowed ground,
With rapturous joy, my footsteps found;
The Catacombs re-echoed to the sound
Of hymns I sang to Thee, th' Adored,
My Lord !

What sorrows followed then, amain;
What fears have filled my heart with pain!
But Jesus came to help me, and sustain,
And His dear cross has been my stay
I fled the world, I turned my face,
And. in a quiet resting place,
I sought in silent prayer for constant grace
My load to bear, and for my grief

I loved to hear, from distant towers,
The sweet church bells ring out the hours;
I loved to cull, through burning tears, the flowers
And hear, at eve, among the trees,
The breeze.

I loved the swallows' graceful flight,
The turtledoves' low chant at night,
The pleasant sound of insects gay and bright,
The grassy vale where doth belong
Their song.

I loved the delicate morning dew,
On Bengal rose of charming hue;
I loved to see the virginal bee accrue
Its store of honey from the flower,--
Its dower.

I loved to gather autumn leaves;
And, where the moss a carpet weaves,
How oft, from 'mongst the vines, my hand receives
A butterfly, so light of wing,-
Fair thing!

I loved the glow worm on the sod;
The countless stars, so near to God!
But most I loved the beauteous moon, endowed
With shining disk of silver bright,
At night.

To my dear father, worn and old,
I gave myself with love untold.
He was all to me. Joy, and home, and gold,
Were mine in him; for him my kiss,
My bliss.

We loved the sweet sound of the sea,
The storm, the calm, all things that be,
At eve, the nightingale sang from the tree.
Oh, seemed to us like seraphim
Its hymn!

But came one day when his sweet eyes
Sought Jesus' cross with glad surprise...
And then ‑ my precious, loving father dies!
His last dear glance to me was given;
Then- heaven!

Jesus, with hand benign and blest,
Took Celine's treasure to his rest,
Where endless joys are evermore possessed;
Placing him near his throne of love,

Now, Lord, I am Thy prisoner here;
Gone are the joys once held so dear.
I have found out,‑- none last, all seek their bier.
I have seen all my joys pass by,
And die.

The grass is withered in its bed;
The flowers within my hands are dead.
Would that my weary feet, Jesu! might tread
Thy heavenly fields, and I might be
With Thee!

E'en as the thirsting hart doth crave
Its lips in some cool stream to lave,
I seek from Thee, Jesu! the healing wave.
I need, to calm my ardors and my fears,
Thy tears.

Thy love, naught else, attracts my soul;
Heaven is my only aim, my goal;
Love, Love divine, has me in Its control.
I seek the Lamb upon His throne,

Jesu! Thou art that Lamb divine;
Naught else I crave, if I am Thine.
In Thee all things in heaven and earth are mine!
Thou art the lovely Flower of spring,
My King!

Thou art the Lily, pure and fair;
Thy perfume sweet embalms the air.
O Bunch of sacred Myrrh, divinely rare,
Upon my heart, I beg Thee, stay

Thy love goes with me where I go!
In Thee have I the sparkling snow,
The rains, the lofty hills, the valleys low,
The babbling brooks, the leafy trees,
The breeze!

All these I have in Thee, dear Lord:
The yellow wheat, the harvest horde,
The Rose of Sharon,--type of Thee, Adored!
Round me what flowers of charming dyes

I have the dear melodious lyre,
The solitude of my desire,
My waves, and mighty rocks, and brilliant fire,
My birds that sing, my murmuring stream,
- Fair dream!

My rainbow in my rain washed skies,
Horizon where my suns arise,
Island in far‑off seas, pearl I most prize,
Springtime and butterflies, I see
In Thee!

Thy love is like the flowers of May,
The palm‑trees where the breezes play,
The nights almost as bright and light as day.
In Thee I find what shall not cease,­-
Sweet peace!

Delicious grapes in Thee are mine,­
The purple burden of the vine;
The virgin forest and the stately pine,
The fair haired children, Lord, I see
With Thee!

In Thee I have the springs, the rills,
The mignonette, the daffodils,
The eglantine, the harebell on the hills,
The trembling poplar, sighing low
And slow.

In Thee I have the waving wheat,
The winds that murmur low and sweet.
All Mary's flowers, once blooming at my feet,
The glowing plain, the tender grass, I see
In Thee.

Beneath my habit's plain, coarse fold
Thou givest me rare gems and gold.
Within my clasp what brilliant rings I hold,- Pearls, sapphires, rubies, diamonds bright,--

The lovely lake, the valley fair
And lonely, in the lambent air,
The ocean touched with silver everywhere,
­In Thee their treasures, all combined,
I find.

I have the barque on mighty seas,
Its shining track, the shore, the breeze,
The sun that sinks behind the leafy trees,
Lighting the clouds, ere it expire,
With fire.

In Thee, the glorious stars are mine;
And often at the day's decline
I see, as through some veil silken and fine,
Beckoning from heaven, our fatherland,
Thy hand!

O Thou Who governest all the earth,
Who giv'st the mighty forests birth,
And at one glance mak'st all their life of worth!
On me Thou gazest, from above,
With love.

I have Thy Face, I have Thy Heart!
Lo! I am wounded with thy dart;
Thou dost Thy sacred kiss to me impart.
I love Thee! Thee alone I view,

I go, to chant, with angel throngs,
The homage that to Thee belongs.
Soon let me fly away, to join their songs!
Oh, let me die of love, I pray,
One dav!

Drawn by the light, the insect flies
To meet the flame wherein it dies.
So, to Thy light, my longing soul would rise;
So would I gladly in that tire,

I hear, e'en I, Thy last and least,
The music from Thy heavenly feast;
There, there, receive me as Thy loving guest!
There, to my harp, oh, bid me sing,
My King!

Mary I go to see, and there
The saints, and those once treasured here.
Life is all past, and dried at last each tear.
To me my home again is given,­
In heaven!

               April 28, 1895.



My God, Thy work complete!
At last I seek Thy grace.
Here at Thy holy feet,
Today I choose my place.
From earth I sought in vain
For ease, or joy, or rest;
Sorrow and weary pain
Alone have filled my breast.

Yes, Magdalene, rest here,
With contrite, humble heart.
Men's scorn no longer fear!
Choose thou the better part.
Hereafter live in peace,
Holy and pure, for Me;
And I shall never cease
To suffer, child, for thee.

It is too much! My sore
And burdened heart will break.
Could I be born once more,
Or die, for Thy sweet sake!

But I have caused Thy grief,
For me Thou art to die.
How shall I find relief
For all this misery?

Yes, many, many tears
Mine eyes have shed for thee
Yet speedily thy fears
Shall change to love for Me.
Thy soul, made pure again,
By one calm word of Mine,
In heaven, free from pain
Shall live a life divine.

Holy and stainless One!
How dare I seek Thy face?
What have I ever done
To win from Thee such grace?
I spurned in other years
Thy patient love for me;
Now, naught have I but tears
To offer Lord, to Thee.

Those pure, repentant tears
Shine brighter in My sight
Than any star appears
In radiant glow at night.
Than precious pearls more dear
Thy contrite heart today. O sorrowing soul, draw near!
Thy guilt is washed away.

Thou Lord of heaven and earth,
What marvelous mystery!
Hath nothing, then, the worth
To win Thy heart from me?
Behold, how full of charms
The hill, and sea, and sky,
The lambs that seek Thine arms
The rivers flowing by!

I see the lilies bloom,
Unsullied, fair, and white;
Yet My large heart hath room
For thy heart's rose tonight.
That rose at last has won
My choice 'mid flowerets rare
From all beneath the sun
I choose its blossoms fair.

The bird's pure, warbling voice
Chants sweetest song to Thee;
The rippling brooks rejoice,
And praise Thee merrily;
The lily of the vale
Its perfumes hastes to bring
And petals, starlike, pale,
Before Thy feet to fling.

On ivoried, regal throne,
In glorious array,
The great King Solomon
Is less than these today;
The daisies in the field
Surpass his princely state;
And yet to thee they yield,
On thee they gladly wait!

A virginal train above,
With robes more white than snow,
Give thee their constant love,
And go where Thou dost go.
I, of a blighted life,
Offer the end to Thee,
From its frail morning rife
With bitter misery.

I love the fires of dawn,
So bright, so pure, so fair;
But ah! I also love
The radiant evening air.
The soul, if it repent,
Shall find at last its home,
There where the sinless tent,
'Neath heaven's o'erspreading dome.

The angels there delight
To show their love for Thee.
Upon their phalanx white
Thy blessing ever be!
A sinful soul am I,
Who naught have merited.
Must Thou not pass me by?
Is mine the children's bread?

Higher than angels mount,
Shalt thou ascend one day!
Close, close to Love's own fount,
Shalt thou abide alway!
But first, on earth a while
In prayer live silently,
And thus gain souls from guile
To give their hearts to Me.

Oh! with what ardent zeal
My heart at last doth burn!
What deep desire I feel
To give Thy love return!
Yet souls to win for Thee,
Too weak, too blind, am I.
Lend Thou Thy heart to me;-
None then shall pass me by.

Lord, one word I ask! Behold my sister there!
Now bid her, dearest Lord, to help me serve Thy meal.
She thinks not of my tasks; for me she hath no care;
She ought to wait on Thee; for me some pity feel!

Dear Martha, hostess kind and good!
Why should you thus your sister blame?
True, naught she thinks about My food,
Yet waits she on Me all the same.

Ah, Lord divine and dear! 'tis this surprises me.
Ought she not, then, awhile, to cease to dream and pray ?
Should she not choose what gift shall be her gift to Thee,
Who lavishly dost give to her and me each day?

Nav, Martha! listen to My Word!
Your faithful, generous love I know;
Yet doth your sister to her Lord
As faithful love and homage show,

Deep myst'ries are these words that greet mine ears today.
I can not help but think,- oh! let me tell my thought!
Better to work good works than many prayers to say;-
The love I feel for Thee must into deeds be wrought.

True, Martha! works are needful here;
I came, Myself, to work with care;
Yet I would have this truth stand clear;
One must transfigure work with prayer.

I knew that I was right; for, did I idly rest,
No charm should I possess in Thy benignant eyes;
So I made haste, to serve for Thee, my holy Guest,
Some pleasant food, to win Thy praise;- 'tis all I prize.

Generous your ardent soul, and good!
Martha, your works show forth your worth;
Yet would you know the only food
That I desire to have on earth?
One single work is needful here!
Your sister, biding near My heart,
In love's own prayer, divinely dear,
Hath chosen thus the better part.
Yes, this the part that is the best!
So I declare, and Truth am I.
Now, Martha, come and share her rest,
Her blessed rest, for Love am I!

At last I understand! O Jesus, Love supreme,
Thy glance hath pierced my soul, Thy meaning now I see.
My gifts are all too small, my services a dream;
My heart the priceless gift that Thou wouldst have from me.

Yes, 'tis thy loving heart I crave;
For this I came from heaven above.
The glories 'tis My right to have,
I left, to seek your love, your love!

Why, then, O Saviour dear, if I may ask Thee this,
Why, within Simon's house, didst greatly praise Marie?
For surely in her life she gave Thee pain, I wis;
And stormy days, in her, Thy sorrowing eyes must see

Martha! I understand her heart,
By pain and sin and sorrow rent;
For souls love much if pardoned much,
And sorely, sorely they repent.

Amazed am I the more by Thy great love and power,
For naught know I, dear Lord, of sin's wild strength and shame.
What do I owe Thee, then Who, from my earliest hour,
Hast shielded me in peace, and kept me free from blame?

A soul kept pure through all its days,­--
Chief masterpiece of Love Divine,-
Should give Me rapturous, endless praise,
And wholly and alone be Mine.
Yes, Martha, you have charmed My sight,
By lifelong, stainless purity;
Yet, while your soul is spotless white,
Your sister hath humility

To win Thy love, dear Lord! through all my life to be,
Earth's honors I will scorn, and all its pomps despise,
And Mary's part will choose, while working still for Thee;
Thy love alone shall be of value in mine eyes.

Many the souls you thus shall claim
From sin's dark haunts to seek My Face;
And you shall bear afar the flame
Of faith, and love's immortal grace.

Thy voice, O Jesus Christ! is sweetest melody,
That wins our love to Thee, and sets our hearts on fire.
Abide Thou here alway, our Life on earth to be:
Abide Thou here alway, our hearts' supreme Desire!

True joy have I at Bethany,
Where find I oft a welcome true;
And in my Father's home shall be
A wondrous blessing granted you.

Yes, you the mystery comprehond
That makes drear earth My precious prize;
For souls of prayer are dear to Me,
A vast reward for sacrifice.

Beyond heaven's joys I prize such souls!
Heaven's glories, one day, yours shall be;
My goods your loving prayer controls,
Your Spouse am I eternally.

Here, faithful friends, ye gave Me meat;
But, in the feast at heaven's board,
Ye shall sit down to food more sweet,
While on you waits your God and Lord.

                July 29, 1895


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