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What I Give to Poems, and What They Give Me

 Sister Marcia Kruse, ASC

By Sister Marcia Kruse, ASC

I am Sister Marcia Kruse, ASC and have the privilege of living in Rome for a couple of years, where I have always dreamed of working. At my community’s request, I am learning to speak and translate Italian. Rome for me has been fertile ground for writing. I have all kinds of ideas and scraps of poems and homemade psalms.


How it all began:

I wrote my first poem as a junior in high school when Sister had the whole class write poems for a contest. My little poem won first prize and was published in the school newspaper.

“I wonder what lies buried here

    beneath this mound of dusty earth.

    What hopes, what dreams, what unsaid words

    Take up their rest with Speedy Spud. …”

I still know it by heart.

I was surprised that it was chosen. Twenty years later, I was so struck by the reality in Bolivia, where I worked in the 1980s and ‘90s, that I wrote about it. And I’ve been writing occasionally ever since.

Simple, Few, and Passionate.

It is only when something really impresses me that I can write.

  • The soul has to be moved.
  • I can’t just write on a given topic.
  • There has to be an attraction, an invitation, something awesome, something to wonder about, something that really moves me.

I try to use as few words as possible to get the idea or feeling across. Maybe that’s because, as a translator, I hate to have to translate superfluous words. Let’s just get to the point!

I use simple words because, instead of finding four synonyms for one word, my brain has had to find how to say one word in four different languages. So that is kind of limiting.

Poetry is a spiritual practice.

For me, poetry is a way of getting or keeping in touch with God and myself: the questions, the wonder, the awe, the humor. It is relating on a deeper level.

I often pray with my poems because they have touched a deep spot in my soul. And I hope that they will help others go deep, also.

Or just have fun and enjoy life, in hope and love.

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