Two Poems

Posted: December 7, 2012 in Less Than 70
Tags: , , ,

“Poverty is being able to say ‘I need you,’ that is, ‘I am incomplete without you.”–Sr. Ilia Delio, OSF


The Trial of Lady Poverty

“We accuse this noble Lady,”

before the King the Prophet sang.

“A siren’s sour song she wailed;

into our hearts sank Satan’s fang.

“Her foul crime, most indecent,

polluting our virtuous sight.

She corrupts our innocent youth

Upon our grace, she’s but a fright.”

The King spoke in a royal tone,

“The honest truth: you speak, we hear;

Upon my throne, I pledge my faith.

Your judgment we treasure and fear.”

The Prophet intoned fragrant praise

(Such prophets we often begrudge):

“My Lord, with wisdom were you crowned,

And enlightened, rightly you judge.”

“This Lady,” our prophet chanted,

“Of noble birth, but ill repute.

Her crimes I judge grave blasphemy,

Monkshood a more poisonous root!”

Kingdoms fall in Justice’s flight,

A frightful truth the King pondered

As he measured the Prophet’s charge,

But Prophets’ words are ne’er squandered;

The King’s heart, now a dungeon

where our Lady’s honor was chained,

“Does this counsel give birth to truth,

Or has your pure virtue been stained?”

The Lady sat in her prison.

Her only truth was her silence:

To counter prophecy itself criminal,

And thus did the King pass sentence.

“Noble wisdom this throne proclaims,

Upon the upright I bestow

Royal blessings and noble grace;

Unto the wicked, I offer woe.

“Her condemnation, I hold true;

Dismiss this heathen from our grace!

O Royal Confessor! Bless this act

So that my Crown be not disgraced!”

The Priest of the Lord, a royal friend

Rose to serve the King’s mortal might.

The lowly lady, with head bowed

Suffered not blessing, only blight.

“Before the Lord,” the Priest chanted,

“We lift our hearts, we lie prostrate.

With Holy God as my witness

Your verdict do I consecrate!”

Scourged by bitter words of malice

Branded as truth and piety,

Shackled in her humble silence,

Our Lady sat in dignity.

Naked silence was her honor,

An Advocate both true and brave,

The Royal Court’s condemnation

Debased the words once meant to save.

Thus did the false Prophet accuse,

And the ignoble King mortify,

with the Priest’s unholy blessing,

The Grace of Lady Poverty.

Remembering Esmeralda

I remember Esmeralda,

laughing before the pandemic,

before she was placed

in quarantine.

I remember haughty physicians,

moralizing their diagnosis–

Humors unbalanced

by magnitudes of infinity.

I remember wealthy doctors,

applying leeches to bleed

her of the suffering

brought about by occult fiction.

I remember deceitful prophets,

lauding the exorcism of reason,

afraid of its lofty heights,

contemptuous of its contempt.

And I remember the melancholy earth,

swallowing Esmeralda’s withered body

as the great men lamented not her death,

but her freedom.


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