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St. Jerome  by Albrecht Durer

In the Waning Afternoon of Life



For St. Jerome


 In the waning afternoon, 

When day its discourse ends, 

And evening steals upon the earth, 

Jerome, who cannot sleep,


Sits and reads, yet his mind

Wanders from the verse, 

And he slowly bows his head 

Before the vision of all


He does not know,

And Jesus, whom he does not

Yet love enough at all, worshipping

Him, the Holy Incomprehensible, 


Whose gentle breeze sets his old bones 

Trembling, new again in longing

To grasp the One Who grasped him,

Longing now in age to pass on 


To Heaven, to leave the tortured earth, 

And all the miseries and wiles 

Of Satan, to leave behind his mediocrity, 

To be purified and taken to Christ’s Heart,


Still the afternoon declines, and takes 

Its leave, as early evening brings on 

The dusk which has no shadows, 

And Jerome turns to gaze through the panes,


 And feels the unbearable anguish

Of the going of the light, 

And the unbearable rest 

Where Jesus draws him to His bosom,


So the old man weeps hard tears, 

Tears which dredge gorges 

In his soul, tears of sorrow 

And of love, and long desire,



July 20, 2002