The poem that follows was written by Pope John Paul II. It is included in an anthology of his poetry, The Place Within and based on John 4:4-30, the Gospel story of the Samaritan woman who meets Jesus at the Well of Jacob.
Later Recollection of the Meeting.
To see like this, inwardly, none of us dares.
His recognition was different.
He hardly raised his eyes.
He was a great gathering of perception
like the well blowing the brightness of water
into a face.
He had a mirror--like the well--shining deep.
For him no need to come out of himself or
raise his eyes to guess.
He saw me in himself, possessed me
He suffused me with ease,
burst my shame in me and the thoughts
I'd suppressed for so long.
As if he--touching a rhythm in my temples--
all of a sudden
carried that great exhaustion
in me, with such care.
Words were simple. They walked beside me
like charmed sheep.
But within me they take off:
dozing birds from their nests.
He was whole in my sin and my secret.
Tell me, this must have hurt, must have weighed
(thought waves fall heavy, a metal lid)--
You keep silent, but today I know--open for ever
by your word--that I did not suffer in You
to my full measure.
Tell me--my love today
wants to bring back that pain,
take it from You and wind it around again
like a sharp band.
Too late. Every pain today
Returning from You,
changes to love on its way.
Such a shortcut, such goodness of perception!
And You did not even raise your eyes.
You talked to me only with those eyes
which the well recreated
in its deep brightness.