Poetry Friday, Beatification Edition, Part 2: Another Poem by John Paul II

As I wrote earlier today, I wanted to share a poem or two of Karol Wojtyla, who was fairly prolific in his poetry.

This is from Roman Triptypch, a section entitled, “Meditations on the Book of Genesis at the Threshold of the Sistine Chapel.”

I like to think of it as “the theology of the body in poem form,” but it is called:


Who is He? The Ineffable.  Self-existen Being.
One.  Creator of all things.
And yet, a Communion of Persons.
In this Communion, a mutual self-giving of the fullness
of truth, goodness and beauty.
But above all–ineffable.
Yet, He spoke to us of himself.
He spoke, by creating man in his image and likeness.
In the Sistine painting the Creator has human features.
The Almighty, the Ancient–a Man, like Adam whom He creates.
And they?
“Male and female He created them.”
God bestowed on them a gift and a task.
They accepted–in a human way–the mutual self-giving which is in Him.
Both naked…
they felt no shame, as long as the gift lasted–
Shame will come with sin,
yet the thrill remains.  They live conscious of the gift,
without being able to call it by name.
But they live it, they are pure–
Casta placent superis; pura cum veste venite,
et manibus puris surmite fontis aquam (see note below)
For eight years I read these words every day
as I entered the gate of the gymnasium in Wadowice.

Pre-sacrament–existence itself as the outward sign of eternal Love.

And when they became “one flesh”
–that wondrous union–
on the horizon there appears the mystery of fatherhood and motherhood.
–They returned to the source of life within them.
–They returned to the Beginning.
–Adam knew his wife
and she conceived and gave birth.
They know that they have crossed the threshold of the greatest responsibility!

note: translates as “Heaven is pleased with what is pure; come with pure robes, and with unsullied hands drink water from the source.”