NOW IMMORTAL AT THE FEAST

Jennifer Hickey (contemporary), “Baby Jesus”
Courtesy Fine Art America

There must be something good in us
Or else why should the Marvelous
Be of us unvirtuous

Becoming human to be born
Flesh as our flesh being worn
Nor deathly bleeding held in scorn

Vulnerable so to teach
To everyone and yet to each
Eternity within our reach

Why bother with a lowly race
Confront its evil face to face
Draw compassion from its place

But most of all to love appeal
Love as fact and not ideal
Not symbolic, love the real

Discovered in what was a beast
Now immortal at the feast
Of light in heaven, grieving ceased


 

FOR HER

For N.

Time is an illusion made for the created
By which the still alive are always saddened and elated
But all has been accomplished beginning to the end
And all at once is happening in one to be not when

An object for the Lord of all to see and contemplate
At which the saved may always look and never have to wait
In joyous peace and happiness no living can express
Except to say contentment by, delight and happiness

Time is such an object the Lord puts on display
In which there is no present, nor then nor yesterday
Such as we the living call an object of an art
A living or unliving thing from which the dead depart

But those who are immortal will never have to leave
For which no death and always life and never have to grieve
But further I cannot describe, for I am still in life
The nearest to which I may say is my beloved wife


 

PREPARE

Dungeon/Labyrinth, by Shunding
Courtesy Deviant Art

We’re on the surface, do not know
That underneath long tunnels go
Through places and realities
Where ogres live and think to seize

Those who trespass on their skyless
Spacious yet somehow not sunless
Country where they have been placed
Wide and narrow interlaced

But I have visioned, I have gone
Where I have met no paragon
But something large, uncouth and wild
Unimagined but a child

Has seen it in a vivid dream
Where it is real does not just seem
Lives and will attack us all
Maybe soon, perhaps this Fall

It is beneath us constantly
Unseen but somehow there and free
Devil-violent, waiting there
You will be summoned, so prepare


 

ENDS WHERE WE DON’T KNOW

On the Hunt
Museum of Vietnamese History
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Writing for the future
Supposing it awaits
Despite oncoming danger
What once were called the Fates

We are so powerful
With self-destructive weapons
Too feeble to control
The muscle under summons

Too meager morally
With limited command
Of moral sanity
That we don’t understand

Because we once were tiny
Played with only some
Treasure, territory
Comparative a crumb

But now our clever people
Build the weapons of
Comprehensive evil
Global in the glove

Once we held a spear
Perhaps a knife or ax
Now there will appear
A monster in our tracks

That follows where we go
But ends where we don’t know


 

A FALLEN WORLD

Aeroflot plane

Someone wrote today: Prayer doesn’t work—
In Moscow: “Lady, get me out of here”
A signal came at once from a musician
On the Moscow Metro who played there

Franz Schubert’s famous ode Ave Maria
Soon the clerk at Aeroflot the airline
Took four hundred dollars for a ticket
To Zurich and he said the bribe was fine

Answers come to faith and fervency—
There must be true belief and also need,
Love of God and spiritual modesty
Not pride, nor rage nor ugliness of greed

It was another’s greed that gave the answer
A fallen world, that craving shows the power


 

UNITY

Praying the Rosary

She leads the rosary each morning Monday
After Mass and Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
Ninety-three, a guide to unity
Blessed is Patricia, blessed she

Are human beings born to have a purpose
For which there is some noticeable evidence—
Purpose which has measurable consequence
Existence in which anyone has confidence?

There is a prayer and there is love and grace
Three of which exist and interlace
Causing consequences to take place
Which have results that measurements can trace

Beginning with a prayer, the rosary
Prayed on beads which any eyes can see
Visible the beads and so are we
Strung together in community


 

GELI BATENIN

SS-25 in Siberia
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

He could have given a command
To kill by nukes their many million
In a well-known foreign land
A general, Geli Batenin

Although the order never came
Collapse arrived but all the same
There was a possibility
Of chaos causing World War Three

The mobiles, SS-25
The crews thereof in such a rage
Their having launch codes, wrath-alive
Might launch and end the modern age

New York, Moscow and DC
And many more but just those three
Enough to set the world aflame
Collapse and ruin taking blame

And so he sent our side a message—
Batenin—pride excelled by courage
Which gave the world some decades more
Of watchful truce instead of war


 

EVEN WE

Vladimir Titov (b. 1950), “Queuing for Wine”
Courtesy MutualArt

A floor show seen in Arkhangelsk many years ago
He walked up to the hostess and lay down on the floor
And while she contemplated him flat lying at her feet
Outside people bounced off walls and reeled around the street

Friday night in Arkhangelsk and all were getting crocked
Meanwhile systems fell apart, the stores no longer stocked
No milk nor eggs, nor butter, and there was only bread
Other things in plentitude were guns and tanks instead

More of vivid memory—seeing on the Metro
A man in quite a decent suit, reeling, clearly blotto
Motionless and watching him, clearly in disdain
A decently dressed woman, his wife who would remain

To make sure that he would get home and not fall on the track
An eminent official lying passed out on his back
This could be a country too, Russia, even we
Might fall flat down before the world, all-inclusively


 

OUTSIDE THE CHURCH

Communion

Outside the church the wind is cold
Two persons and the Holy Mass
One afraid to be exposed
To the jeopardizing virus

Solemn man and priest as one
The substance and the instrument
Bread and wine to be transformed
Performer and communicant

May be in some winter hence
If true religion is forbidden
That this will come to be the way
Of having transubstantiation

So that the two become one Christ
The world itself is sacrificed


 

I DID NOT SEE HIM

Hans Memling (c.1433–74), “Polyptych of Earthly Vanities and Heavenly Redemption” (detail)
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Strasbourg
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Replying so He gave me sight
Of light forbidding where He dwells,
A tower of impressive height—
That of which Paul’s letter tells

Above, around in orbit flew
The brilliant trails of spirit-souls—
They were the living whom I knew
Immortal spirits who extol

Those courtiers of shining praise
Of One Creator and One King,
A Majesty beyond all days
Of Time’s reduced imagining

I did not see Him but I knew
Within that Light His glory grew

(November 22 is the Feast of Christ the King.)