Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Two Poem Drafts

Two hagiographical ones. The Martha in question is Martha of Bethany, of course, the Martha of the Bible; old French legend says that she went to France and rescued a town from a terrible dragon-like creature called the Tarasque. There are a number of versions of the story. In one, St. Martha faces and converts the Tarasque and brings it back, now tame, to the town; the townspeople, terrified, kill it. The Tarasque dies like the good Christian it now is, refusing to protect itself less it harm anyone else, and Martha rebukes the people sharply in a sermon on mercy that converts the town to Christianity. As penance they name their town Tarascon and keep the memory of the dragon alive. In other versions Martha simply undoes the power of the Tarasque by prayer, allowing the townspeople finally to defend themselves against it.

St. Martha, Subduer of Dragons

No fearful tears are in your eyes:
They are both bright and clear
and look upon this weary world
with power free of fear.
Along a hard and worried road
you followed Heaven's tread,
but tasted of the tree of life--
what serpent need you dread?
You serve amid the pots and pans
but serpents fear your name,
for all your prayers overcome
the might of dragon-flame!

St. Michael, Defender of the Tempted

Prince of hosts! Defend us now
as battles 'round us rage;
support us in the march and fight
in warfare that we wage
against all crowns and thrones that serve
the spirit of the age!

You are one like unto God;
God's image are we too,
and though the prince of darkness rule,
God has his word renewed
through broken bone and flowing blood
of Faithful One, and True.

Then fight with us by God's good grace,
all angels at your side,
and as the dragon was cast down,
cast down oppressor's pride;
the liar walks with cloth of light --
reveal his wicked lie!

Upon the name, the Holy Name,
lift your voice to call,
and carry soldiers from the field
who by dark arrows fall.
Cast back the serpent's malice cold
ere it envenom all!

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