by Catherine Rohsner

College is where life fantastically blooms

a setting of great expectations, and when you’ve lived it:
Immortality, Immaturity—a gathering of the young.

Take your turn and consequences will abound:
friendships, hot tea warming hands,
plentiful smiles on sidewalks catching you unawares,
which are necessary moments to remind you’re loved.
(Not in the grandest way, perhaps;
yet, a joy is a joy.)

This, of course, is what everyone says to you—.
It might be foolish, youth living so,
three thousand like you inside one mile.

Better to guard yourself in every social move.
Not without friends, but some wisdom.

Light of DeLight

The day lifts away our gloomy thoughts,
Our dismal weights to the air;
I know of none who could not look
At the sunlight, and lose their care.

Though midnight may provide our Muse
It brings the weight of gloom;
Its somber hue it shows in full,
The holiness of doom.

Oh sunlight! What promises it shines!
A pale white streak
Upon a bedroom wall cheers
The heart and makes it leap.

Someday our long, woeful burdens
Will be cast aside;
And every moment we may know
That Someone is beside.

Living in the Present

What use are words when you know everything
You write is broken, or embarrassing
At best? What use are words, or books, or art
When millions crowd the world, and cease to be
When ruined or forgotten? Do you think
It’s you, the author, who is worth the pen’s
Immortalizing, with your flaws and sins?
(What else can I come up with so that you
Will cease to write, or think, or dream, or act?)

It is a sunny, wintry day, the one
Just after Spring. The sun shines some into
The room, and more so since the snow’s so white.
Remember when you lay upon the grass,
And stroked the neighbor’s cats, a mother and
A daughter, on a Sunday afternoon
In Spring, a real Spring with flowers and
A breeze. Remember well, and look around;
The calm speaks better than your weary mind.

Do not forget that God has something far
More glorious than what you can believe,
Or hope, or ask in store for you. In time,
Though pain surrounds and breeds inside the wound
You got from similar horrors of the past,
Again refreshed, and not accompanied
By any balm, no knowledge of the hour
When hope will be fulfilled for once in sight,
Remember then the suffering of the Lord.

Love and Longing

I mustn’t speak—
I mustn’t feel—
I mustn’t long—
I cannot think on it longer.

Then, heart pounding,
The gray of night, and a brain
That will not fall asleep for fear of . . .
Of what?

I must deny myself, I know this to be true.
“I really don’t trust your judgment,” says
The Mentor. “The way you’re going back and forth is scary.”
Am I sane?

You are not condemned! says my friend . . . tears
Roll off my heart’s rim. Idolatry
Isn’t easy to work oneself out of. Work on myself?
The LORD needs to do a work in me.

Curled-up exclamations busy my soul.
Vain attempts at analysis blur my mind.
Fear of getting hurt again blinds my heart.
Hardness of heart keeps me from my God.

My beloved friend, contradiction of both beloved and friend,
I either love you so much and yearn for you,
Or quiet down, and accept congenial acquaintance while I work.
I must sever that selfish longing or perish.

Except—LORD, if it be Your kind will,
To permit me to walk in Your grace,
To teach me and make me new day by day,
Might my longing be met . . . but in Your way?

Ode to H.M.

If I could name that which I most desire,
I fear my tongue would slack, for want of heart,
Or rather, will collapsed and weariness
Within. It can’t have only been a dream,
A tumult swiftly come and gone, and past?
I fear it’s true, for now no heart remains
In me to ache, to yearn, to warm, or grow,
But only rest, return to mind’s clear eye,
And pay respect towards my daily cares.
I am content to think no more what’s past.

Yet do not think that I might scorn our time;
No, no! Cast far the thought that I may scowl
When glancing back upon our month of trial,
Of tossing back and forth upon a sea
Of doubt, of slim to overwhelming swells
Of tearful, bittersweet devotion not to
You, but to the truth. Though as you know,
The tide swayed mightily toward your shores
As well, alternatively. Ah, no more!
Our time is spent, and so my heart is dry.

And dripping wet with hope’s last cries,
I sit above the roar and live my life,
A life not unchanged from that fiery pass,
But, as we know, burned free from former dregs
Which hardened thick around my heart and mind
From ancient battles won but wounding still.
Do I still dream? Hold fast! There’s music in
The air! Away from here! Beyond the shore!
Do listen. Though our time resembles waste,
I stand, and stride in knowing naught was vain.

My dear H.M., you poet who thinks so low
Of poetry, may likely fail to hear
My distant message. But! As you, across
The isle, are still within my sight, still I’ll
Wave, and smile, until you’re out of view.
And you will music make on instruments,
And I will music pen in words of ink,
Apart, but still a part of what’s unheard:
That symphony which plays about our sphere,
Which never ends; perhaps you might return.

About the Author:

Catherine Rohsner

Catherine Rohsner grew up and lives in Maryland. She is a ’18 graduate of Grove City College with a degree in English, minors in Music and Spanish, and a concentration in Creative Writing. She has also self-published a co-created novel called Fish Out of Water in August 2017.