Poems 17


Anna, of the happy tribe of Ashur,
your profession was prayer.
At the Temple day and night,
what was the secret
that kept you there?

I, too, love to pray,
but it is not my food and drink,
not my every breath.
A whisper of confession,
a pleading petition,
forgetting too often to praise
the Maker of all my days.

Paul said to pray without ceasing,
he must have known about you.
Married only seven years
before your husband died.
Certainly, you must have cried
before the Lord, asking why?

Was it sufficient to know
that He cared?
Did you not complain of aches and pain?
Or just listen, to hear your name,
hushing the host of heaven,
"Anna is praying again."

I understand confession clears
the way to the throne of God.
Praise then for who He is,
not just for what He has done.
Thanksgiving, never ceasing,
opens the door to petition.

Just to be in His presence
is time sweetly spent,
as in the words of the Psalmist,

  One thing have I asked
  of God, that will I seek,
  that I may dwell in Your presence,
  everyday of my life, delighting
  in your incomparable perfection and

When they brought the infant, Jesus,
you prophesied this very one to be
the redemption of Israel
for which you had long prayed.

Anna, I would learn of thee,
faithfulness for what I cannot see.

Luke 2

Joyce Carr Stedelbauer
"Have you met Eve?"
Portraits in Poetry for Women Today
p. 142/143
used with permission

Simeon and Anna praise the infant Jesus
by Mauritshuis the Hague

One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
 to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
Psalm 27:4