Sonnets for Heaven's Queen

Help of Christians

On the Napoleonic Imprisonment of Pius VII


They came. They took our shepherd, and we mourned,

The light of day was blunted by our fears,

And every form of false belief returned,

As fright and terror mingled with our tears.


How long, we wondered, must we orphans wait,

Before our Papa would at last see Rome?

Or if tomorrow jubilation’s gate

Might open for his welcome coming home.


But then, as we sat weeping on the banks

Of Babylon, did we remember well,

That we had yet to give sufficient thanks

For Mary’s helps, too numerous to tell.


Was ever there, in art or peace or war,

Some grace that, through her hands, God did not pour?



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).

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