Curacion del Paralitico - Murillo - 1670
Sonnets for Heaven's Queen

Health of the Sick

Dim dupes of mortal science and despair,

Alarm and fright are now our daily dole,

Infected by panic, we wither in its snare,

Whilst lepers, not of flesh, but of the soul,


Make fear of death our one and only law;

Our muted cries by howling fiends are hushed

As Satan rakes us with his poisoned claw:

All they who trust in man, by men are crushed.


Bringer of Him who makes the blind to see,

Ministress of Life, Ampoule of our God,

From sin’s contagion undefiled and free,

Swaddler of Heaven on earth’s wounded sod,


Health of the Sick, sweet Mother, Virgin pure,

In scorning thee, we spit upon our Cure!

From Sonnets for Heaven’s Queen © Joseph Charles MacKenzie. All rights reserved.

Winner of the 2020 Society of Classical Poets Competition (America's highest honor in classical verse), Joseph Charles MacKenzie is a traditional lyric poet of New Mexico. He is also the only American to have won the Scottish International Poetry Competition (see: Times Literary Supplement, Jan 27, 2017). A Pushcart Prize nominee, MacKenzie's verses have appeared in The New York Times, The Scotsman (Edinburgh), The Independent (London), The Telegraph (London), and many other venues. He wirtes primarily for Trinacria (New York) and the Society of Classical Poets (New York).


  • Marcellus Moylan

    Wow, Mr. MacKenzie! This sonnet is amazing! You really cut to the core of this Covid-19 crisis! Without trust in God, without Mary, Salus Infirmorum, there is only fear and despair in this world.

  • Margaret Coats

    This sonnet was much to the point when it was posted several months ago, and seems just as pointed several months later, with its final line barb directed against all who continue to heed earth while paying no attention to heaven. Lovely address to the Health of the Sick in lines 9-13.

    • Joseph Charles MacKenzie

      Yes, because naturalism is one of the errors of modernism. In my new collection, “Sonnets for the Queen of Heaven,” to be coming out soon in a fancy deluxe edition, I expand upon Our Lady’s title of “Nuestra Señora de los Remedios,” Our Lady of Remedies, a devotion which was introduced into my native New Mexico in 1598.

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