Prayers from the Ark

I am so sorry that I never thought to  contact Rumer Godden before she died in 1998. She translated into English Prayers from the Ark, by Carmen Bernos de Gasztold. My mother gave me the book when I was a child. I have loved it ever since, reading these gentle words of supplication throughout my entire life. To think that I missed such an opportunity to speak with the woman who not only translated these moving prayer-peoms, but had worked with their author in the Abbye Saint Louis du Temple where she lived.

As a young summer camper, I sang about the animals who came on [the ark] “by twosies, twosies” never reckoning what the experience might actually have been.  The gentle soul that was Bernos de Gasztold did. She imagined life on the ark as lived by the mouse, praying to God to be kept safe from “the claws of that deveil with green eyes.” For ten brief and beautiful lines she becamse the audacious rooster, reminding God who actually called forth sunrise. Each animal’s supplication for compassion is our cry, our hope; their songs of gratitude are our songs. 

I wish I could thank my mother once again for giving me this beautiful book. But I have the The Prayers of the Ark, and thus, the love within her gift.

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