Calcutta in Detroit

Photo Credit: William Carter

Photo Credit: William Carter

Even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own.  Mother Teresa


You are so small,

much like a tiny wren
or finch. To all
appearances, broken,
used and oh-so-wrinkly.

Your voice diminutive,
but words you choose
thunder through the nave,
strike like lightning
in the soul.

The church is dark
and cold as winter
in Detroit is wont to be.
Throngs of people
gather in the pews,
stand in aisles
to hear you speak
of love and compassion.

Not a sound except
your message.
We are here
for those in need.

The comfort you impart
is warmer than coffee.
Enough to last a lifetime.
To remind me.
You’ve moved on
but you are here.


About 1979 I was in Detroit when Mother Teresa opened a home there. After she spoke in a packed church, some of us had the opportunity to meet her. I count her hug as one I will never forget.

Posted to Claudia’s wonderful prompt over at dVerse Poetics. Have a cup of coffee and a friendly chat with someone you admire, whether from ages past or still with us today.


19 thoughts on “Calcutta in Detroit

  1. ManicDdaily says:

    Simple and lovely. k.


  2. L says:

    She was always in priest mode – sharing and suffering with her fellow man.


  3. L says:

    She was always in priest mode – sharing, suffering with humanity.


  4. Beautiful moving poem for a wonderful human being. A marvellous example to us all.


  5. souldipper says:

    Oh, Victoria! Victory!


  6. Jamie Dedes says:

    A perfect homage to a woman both kind and inspiring. I had a friends – recently died – who went and worked in Kolkata with Mother Teresa. She had memorable stories to share. You are indeed blessed to have received a hug … she probably transmitted “darshan.” Thanks for sharing the experience in this poem, Victoria.


  7. victoria, your title alone was enough for me to want to “like” and rate your post 😉

    and then your poem went beyond it –

    “Your voice diminutive,
    but words you choose
    thunder” –

    what a beauty 😉

    also very much enjoyed your short bio moment with her in detroit, thanks victoria 😉


  8. Susan says:

    “warmer than coffee” says so much. Lovely poem.


  9. brian miller says:

    oh wow…now that would be an amazing person to meet or to even hear…i imagine her heart in every word….so cool you actually got to meet her…that is awesome..


  10. Kelvin S.M. says:

    …you’re very lucky to have met her & hug her… she is just a small woman who does big… bigger enough to inspire & encourage many around the world… thanks for writing about Mother Theresa… smiles…


  11. Mary says:

    Amazing, Victoria. I had not realize that she had come to the U.S. to open a home in Detroit. I remember (from TV) her smallness, her voice of well chosen words. What a presence! And yes, that hug would be memorable, one to be called on when needed throughout one’s life.


  12. Wonderful, no imagination needed when you have met with an icon like that. Very good.


  13. Wow what an experience of a lifetime!!! I’ve always admired Mother Teresa and to have met her would have been amazing. She was an extraordinary person. Beautiful poem Victoria 🙂


  14. viv blake says:

    A marvellous meeting to have chosen for this prompt. Thank you for the insight.


  15. claudia says:

    oh wow…it must have been absolutely incredible to hear her speak and even get a hug…she was a wonderful woman with a big heart.. very cool victoria


  16. kkkkaty1 says:

    What a sweet meeting that must have been!


  17. Victoria, this is a perfect response to the prompt! Loved it. What an experience that must have been.


  18. jmgoyder says:

    I am jealous of that hug!


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