By a Carmelite of the Valparaeiso Nebraska Carmel

If someone were to say to me, “so tell me, Carmelite,
You seem to be quite happy, whence comes this strange delight.
For your life seems hard and dull and bleak.
Come nos, what’s the story?”
I would sit them down an tel them the mysterious allegory


Once strolling on the rocky shore, I came upon a shell.
I stooped to pick it up, and stood to ponder for a spell.
It was ugly, rough, forbitdding and dull as it could be
And I thought the occupant might need some help and symapthy.

So I knocked politely on the lid, and said, “Please pardon me,
But — I’m concerned for your wellbieng little mollusk of the sea.
Aren’t you lonely and depressd? Don’t you find you’re crabbed and bored?
Shall I help you find a nicer shell, from the many on the shore?”

“I’m touched by your concern,” said a small voice from wihin.
“It’s true my home’s exterior is somewhat grey and grim,
But you see, I am an oyster, my shell has more than meets the eye.
If you could see it from within, I think you’d be surprised.”

“If you could see within this tiny hall.
If you could see what dancing, swirling colors line my walls,
the pearly, opalescent gleams of rose, green, white, and blue.
I think you’d esteem this poor rough shell just as I do.”

“And is the outside all that bad? Please, let’s not be too hasty!
Many ravenous beasts think little oysters very tasty
My rugged fortress of a shell this vital purpose serves:
It saves soft, helpless little me from becoming an hors d’ouvre!”

“And furthermore” – and now the oyster’s voice dropped very low.
“I share this shell witrh One loved well, if you would like to know.
One lovely Pearl, one precious Pearl, I cherish here inside.
And my dear Pearl I love more than all thw world wide.”

” If sometimes I fall down “cause I’m a spineless blot, and slimy,
And life seems hard and bleak, and I can see not one friend nigh me,
And it grows dark, so I can’t even see my Pearl so well,
I just snuggle closer to Him,and I know all shall be well..”

“Each day It grows a little bit!and someday, when I’ve died,
I hope the world will see and love the Pearl I bear inside.
So no!….I would not trade my shell, although you offered me
The shiniest, prettyest, fanciest, frilliest shell in alll the sea.”

We said good night, I put it down, ans slowly strolled away,
And that happy little oyster I still ponder to this day.
In the shell that’s rough without, but lined with heaven there within.
And the quiet, loving, fascinatinng, precious Pearl Friend.