09 Mary in Poetic Verse - Marcellus D’Souza

posted Sep 7, 2017, 1:53 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 7, 2017, 1:54 AM ]
"Abandon yourself into the hands of Mary. She will take care of you."- St Padre Pio

Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, has immensely influenced the art of poetry writing through the generations. These poems can be divided broadly into 'Ave Maria' poetry or praise poetry which was often linked with prayers to Mary; poems about the sorrows of the Virgin Mary (Stabat Mater) and poems about the joys of the Virgin Mary (Gaude Maria i.e. Rejoice, Mary).

Soon, a Virgin Mary style evolved which predominantly listed her epithets: Sun, Morning Star, Rose, Lily and Queen of Heaven. A specific Virgin Mary symbolism also evolved, in which elements from nature or from the Old Testament explained challenging aspects of Mariology.

Marian poetry in the Greek Catholic Church tradition can be traced to the sixth century. It flourished in the ninth century, and was taken on by the Roman Catholic Church, where it culminated by 1400.

No woman and no deity in the Middle Ages attracted the poets like the Virgin Mary. In the Late Middle Ages, Marian poetry adopted elements from French troubadour poetry or love poetry.

Marian literature is bound with popular devotion to the Virgin Mother and Mariological theology. Marian poetry is found throughout the Nordic area. There are approximately fifty extant Marian texts in the Norse language. Some of these Norse Marian poems might have been written in Norwegian monasteries. In Sweden, poems to the Virgin Mother were written in Latin and in Swedish. Swedish-language Marian poetry exercised influence on the Danish language. Swedish poems like Vår Frus pina (Our Lady of Sorrows) and Marias sju fröjder (The Seven Joys of the Virgin Mary) finds mention in the wide-ranging and rhyming devotional book Siælinna thröst (Solace for the Soul). The oldest written version of the hymn Den signade dag (The Blessed Day) is Swedish, and has strong Marian elements.

The best known traditional poem on Mary published in the 20th century is Hopkin's Rosa Mystics. The poem expresses devotion, re-establishes the meaning of the biblical Mary and her role in the Divine plan of salvation.

The Trappist monk, Fr Thomas Merton (1915-1968), who is recognised as one of the major spiritual guardians of our times has written 25 poems which have a Marian content. Other poets who have captured Mother Mary in poetic form and rhyme are Denis Martindale, Linda Henry, Gerald Dillenbeck, Anil Deo, Authur Vaso, Aram Sarian, Gail Foster, Verlena Walker, Yolanda Scott, Yeats and Gert Strydom.