Sunday, November 21, 2021

Three Poem Drafts

Between grading and some kind of weird sickness or allergy that left me with massive sinus headaches, the past week has been a bit rough, although things are improving greatly, so I should be back on schedule with Abyss & Sea this next week. In the meantime, here are a few poem drafts. It is perhaps worth noting that the real Laodicea was originally called Diospolis, the City of God, and was eventually renamed Laodicea, the Righteousness of the People; which is perhaps in part what is in view in the letter to the church at Laodicea in the book of Revelation.

A Church in Laodicea

I went to a church in the city,
a blocking of piles of blocks;
it grew like a shrub to the heavens,
a knobbing of rock upon rock.
The angles were angled with caution
and everything laid out with thought,
for they had the very best parking,
all painted in rows on the lot.
Like a theater thrown up by a college,
an island above waves of cars,
it squatted on asphalted landscape
with the charm of a jail lacking bars.
But the windows! They shone in bright colors
like neons of oranges and reds
and depicted the very parishioners
for which, they say, Christ suffered and bled.
To look at them, you'd never know it,
as the windows depicted their sins,
but given a shine like the holy
in light that burst out from within,
as their hands, not in prayer, all pointed
to their faces with gesture of 'me',
and in all their splendor and glory
not a sign of a cross could I see.
The bishops were especially vivid
as they stabbed at the sheep with their knives
and blathered in endless committee
and to Christ gave some words, not their lives.
And within there was piled the givings
of gifts that were worth not one cent,
tokens embossed, "I am righteous,"
stamped from packaging soiled and spent.
The guitars were all lazily strumming
as they sang of how just they must be,
trying to convince God they were devoted
with something like a desperate plea.
And before they got to their offering,
they joined in a grand kiss of peace
with the joy of their ancestor Judas
and kissed their foes not the least.
Then as the priest spoke in dull mumbles
the altar became the High Throne
and the Lamb poured Himself out from heaven,
Christ on the Cross all alone.
And His enemies came to partake Him,
the God who for them had died,
to those who said, "The Blood," and, "The Body,"
"Amen," they all said, and thus lied,
for they knew not the glorious offering,
only symbols like bread and like wine,
and they sought not the Lamb on the altar
but of their own justice a sign.
As it was on the pathway of sorrow,
so it was on that hill of the skull,
no Temple, but another Golgotha,
and a sky veiled in vestments grown dull.
But the Lamb was there on the altar
though the people had lost faith and love;
the Christ into hell was descending
in the midst of the flame-golden Dove.

The Bethlehem-Star

See the Bethlehem-star arise
between the dawn and the night:
a glory walks which had not walked
since sudden loss of light.

Your little wire fences failed
to barricade His way;
no border guard can bid Him halt,
no power say Him nay.

The work of Babel is undone;
no language bars like wall
the Eden-place of charity
where throng the nations all.



I made a goddess of flowers;
a rose was at her heart,
fresh with clear spring breezes
and dripping with the dew,
wreathed with anemones and asters,
lilies and springing violets,
as clever as a daisy,
an orchid at her lips;

I made a maiden of flowers,
a meadow of perfection,
of oak and broom and meadowsweet,
of firewheels and touch-me-nots,
and chrysanthemum-kindness;

I made a lady of flowers,
of petals like a snowstorm,
a splendor of flashing color,
and the wind blew her beauty away.