Turn, Turn, Turn

I, whose heart is closed and locked,
Who turned away when your Son knocked
And who, through sin, did turn my soul
Into a twisted lump of coal
Turn now, Holy Mary, to you.

Least worthy, no one can deny,
Yet most in need, who more than I?
Who brazenly did turn my face
And turned into the worst disgrace—
I turn, Holy Mary, to you.

And so, please Mary, take control
Of this most vile and wretched soul.
Undo the damage that I’ve done.
Return me to your only Son.
I turn, Holy Mary, to you.



Joe Tessitore is a retired New York City resident and poet.

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9 Responses

  1. jd

    A beautiful poem for this beautiful feast of the
    Immaculate Conception. My reading of it follows
    on the heels of another beautiful reading from the
    website, beyondthesestonewalls.com, written by
    Father Gordon MacRae, a wrongfully convicted
    Priest in his 27th(?) year in prison so I feel I must
    share it.

    • Margaret Coats

      Thanks for pointing this out. The website is not the easiest to use, but tap Posts on the menu above Fr. MacRae’s story. Today’s post is “To Christ the King through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” and it references two related posts at the end.

  2. Julian D. Woodruff

    A beautiful poem, Mr. Tessitore, so openly penitential.
    Do you know this anecdote?: Chesterton was one of several prominent figures once asked to respond publicly to the question, “What’s wrong with the world?” He wrote 2 words: “I am.”

  3. Margaret Coats

    Beautiful thoughts for the holyday, Joe, expressing humility suited to every sinful soul, and rightfully addressed to the Immaculata chosen by God precisely because of her glorious practice of the virtue of humility.

  4. C.B. Anderson

    To every thing there is a season, Joe, and I think that you have found yours. But don’t forget that some of your darkest sins might be your greatest virtues. Humility is useful only to a point.

  5. C.B. Anderson

    You, Joe, are the nut — the very fruit — of what might be called natural poetry. Your admission of failure is one thing, but your submission to a higher power is something else altogether. Keep the faith! What else is worth keeping?

  6. Brian Yapko

    I think this is a beautiful poem which fairly sings with humility and faith. My day is better for having read it. Thank you, Joe.

  7. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Joe, your words are beautiful and humbling, and I thank you for them.

  8. Mia

    I have found this poem to be very moving.
    It should be in a prayer book.
    Perhaps if some past generations were going through the problems
    of today they would be putting on sackcloth and ashes.
    Prayer is much needed now and this serves as a wonderful role model.
    Thank you for this wonderful poem and for your courage and bravery.
    If I may say I love the metaphor of a twisted lump of coal that leads me to think that perhaps the reason the soul becomes as a twisted lump of coal is so that it may be able to burn brighter.


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