Poets’ Corner

Geoffrey Chaucer Speaks of Julian of Norwich

Beside the saintly woman of Norwich, an anchorite without pretense, a prophet of startling revelations, my Wife of Bath and Madame Eglantine, my courteous knight and squire do pale. Confessor to many, her wisdom shared beside the river through embroidered scrim— I wonder: what if I met her before my tales were spawned, my pen…

Every Morning He Hallowed Himself

While still a student, wandering abroad     But lodged in Dublin for the summer, I     Would pass, each day, through King Street with a sigh Dismissing all I couldn’t afford as fraud, And turn, at the butt-end of Grafton Street     To join the host of tourists on their way Beneath the Fusilier’s arch,…

Returned

The women’s gifts to Him would not last long: Just as His corpse itself must soon decay, Embalming myrrh’s soft sweetness drifts away. A tomb that’s carved in stone’s forever strong, But nothing can sweet aloes’ life prolong. What Joseph gave would stand beyond today: This granite burial site was sure to stay– Regardless of…

Apprenticeship

You fear these shop boy’s tasks will leave you fruitless.So far, you’ve shoveled gravel mountains, tilledWide fields, scrubbed bathroom floors angelic white,And little else. At home you lie there, bootless.Like you, the hours drift on unfulfilled,And always fade too quickly into night.Yet solace finds you in the lumber yard.Your hands, still disapproved to work the…

Grey Stone

From youth this cool, grey stone enchanted me,Its beauty one with its simplicity:The Archer of Aphaia poised to strike,Or mighty Neptune with his triple spike,The pointed arches of the Notre-Dame,Ascending heavenward with perfect calm:Their colors were but subtlety and shade,Nor garish nor flamboyant, rather madeOf naught but stone, quite serious and pure.Their substance never fading…

Wedding at Cana

Participants in gracious comedy, Francesca and Lotario agree, Find Pleasure sat with Duty, king and queen Upon two wine-dark thrones. Aghast at losing Face, each blamed the other. Pleasure, pale And drained, with croak complained, “Six arduous pails Of sweat and tears without one drop of blood,” While Duty, bloated, raised his fiery head To…

Suger and the Golden Eagle

 1137 What were you? What benighted ritual functionserved you? Did you catch from slaughtered calvesthe ruby of their veins, and mete its halvesbetween strange gods and men who begged their unction?Would still man’s breast rekindle dark desireshould I from Eve’s lips wrest the unbit apple?I wrought the pagan archway in my chapel,yet still the kings…

Grand Isle

for Edgar Bowers, i.m. The clouds this night collapse with violence Into themselves, the frothing Gulf their score, Then rise to forge a new design, each tense With struggle to hold form, impermanence Their constant state. Below, the fitful shore Endeavors to maintain a faithful line, Establishing frail boundaries once more, Demanding less than what…

Eternities

The first eternity is things, the second our imagining, the third my soul, flying out to her, donning the purple robe she sewed, Wisconsin winter, thirty years ago. Purple, the color of a king. I wear that robe New Orleans June. Of the wounds, this is just one. I asked our priest to bring her…

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