This sonnet was written for two musicians: a talented classical guitarist whose budding concert career was halted by an injury; 
and a pianist who gave up his thriving international concert career to become a Catholic priest.

Mere Instruments

        A man—though poised to pluck on hearts, to give
        a graceful, glorious largess of sound,
        when hurt an inn within his hands has found—
        can yield, and deepen his goal for God to live.
        Another—whose fingers, so forceful, fleet,
        can key sublime kaleidoscopes of sound—
        both hears and heeds: takes up his gift renowned
        and lays it, in trust, at Melchisidek's feet.

        Your beauty gleams through gifts, O Source of all;
        why withdraw them? Why still such echoes true?
        Why pull your dreams from dreamers pure? Mean you
        to make them eunuchs of music?. . . Recall,
        my child: a grain must die. Be still and find
        what music I play on souls wholly mine!

Jeanette Amestoy Flood
Originally published in the St. Austin Review (Jul/Aug 2006)


To J. S., An Ethical Man

                               Silent it stands, not one could cut it down,
                               immutable, enduring, fixéd, hard,
                               not for public view, not for any yard,
                               a private satisfaction its chosen crown.
                               Its branches, thick, oblique, and gnarled, append
                               a certain beauty: grandeur now bedecked.
                               This bonsai does in every way reflect
                               its sister trees: traits in miniature wend.

                               The Gardener bonsaís most: some accept,
                               submitting to the shears without a word,
                               and some resist; requested it’s occurred
                               for some. Then some bonsaí themselves: adept
                               and yet aloof, the Gardener they elude.
                               He longs for their assent to now be wooed.

Jeanette Amestoy Flood


This next poem, an early and inadequate one, was written  in empathy for two dear friends, who themselves were friends and roommates. Just when the one learned that her cancer was more serious than they'd thought, the otherwho had already lost her father and recently an aunt and a brotherlearned that her mother had advanced cancer and only three weeks to live. 
It seemed like a sick soap opera.

Light for the Desperate

O my God, oh please—
I can't think what to say
but hear me, please hear me.
Hear a desperate prayer.

Spare us, Lord, please spare us;
leave us life a while.
Let not pain take one,
nor grief the other.
Let us be awhile.

Wandering glazed eyes
searching the holy apse,
blind to beauty, dull to meaning,
find themselves upon a glass,
a wondrous colored glass.

Who am I, Lord, who am I?
An ignoramus
watching an artist
work in the dark.
Yes, and screaming out,
“Too much blue, too much red!
What are doing?
What are you thinking?!”

Yes, but when the sun shines through—
who am I, God, who am I?
Now I see the beauty of your pattern,
marveling at a pattern
as much as in the beauty.
Blue and red and glorious gold
dancing in majesty
'round a stolid stone cross.

Yes, who are you to say
too much red, too much blue,
too much blood, too much grief?
Would you lessen a beloved's glory?

Thank you, Lord, for heeding me
and flashing a glimpse at understanding.
However you answer a desperate prayer,
turn our thoughts from mysterious panes
to the glory of the day your Son shines through. 

Jeanette Amestoy Flood, 1991