A Psalm to Mother Teresa (1910 - 1997)

Tonight the tears flow
For a great soul that is no more.
I go to my room to weep in silence
And to give thanks.
But in the midst of my grief I recall
That to dry the tears of sorrow was your mission,
You and all your fellow angels.

You, the weakest among us,
You were the strongest of all.
In your small body was strength and beauty,
The power of grace,
And a faith that drove off in headlong flight
The myriad old fears of your race
And all of the thousand doubts.

In the gutters of Calcutta
You were the hands and feet of the loving Christ.
In the midst of filth, the dirtiest streets on earth,
You saw loveliness,
You saw the face of God in human affliction.
You were a mother of mercy,
You were a saint of compassion,
You anointed the putrid sores of lepers;
To the weak and to the rejected
You gave shelter and you gave care.
You did not bother about the colour of skin;
You did not ask hard questions
About caste, about belief, about religion –
A Christian? A Muslim? A Hindu? An unbeliever?
You did not ask, you just gave a drink of water,
Opened the door wide,
And blessed each one without distinction.
From the jaws of death you snatched the most wretched,
And gave value to life in the midst of shame and indifference.
You gave all,
You gave by day and you gave by night,
You gave year after year,
Until the fateful hour of the final parting came.

In dark hovels,
And on the dusty streets of India,
I too have seen misery:
I have seen orphaned children,
I have seen their dulled eyes,
I have seen their scarred bodies.
I have seen the old and the alone
Without hope for the morrow.
I have seen and I have grieved,
But after I had seen – I left.

But tonight, in my longing and in my regret,
You came to me to comfort and to spur.
I hear again the intensity in your voice;
Your tenderness wraps me in its warmth,
The serenity in your face makes the fireside glow.

Mother Teresa,
Give to us just a little of your grace,
Just a little ray from your never-setting sun,
So that even I may feel the eternal love
That melts the hardest heart
And takes the stone away from the grave.

: Robin Gwyndaf. His poem was first published, as Salm i’r Fam Teresa in Cristion ('Christian'), a periodical for readers of Welsh.
We are grateful to the author, who is a senior member of staff at the Museum of Welsh Life, St. Fagans, Cardiff, for permission to translate and publish it.

Translation : The Wales Famine Forum.

Published in: The Green Dragon No 5, Winter 1997.

The Poetry of Things

Gorgysylltiadau i’r Gymraeg / Nascanna don Bhreatnais / Links to Welsh.

Two more poems to Mother Teresa:

1.Y Fam Teresa (Mother Teresa) by Arthur Thomas.
Text in Welsh with a translation into English.

2. I’r Fam Teresa (To Mother Teresa)
Cerdd gan Morgan D. Jones, Maesteg.
Text in Welsh with a translation into English.