Three Ekphrastic Poems

The House of God

How could have all of this from them grown up,

These soul-locked glad-glade battlements of heart,

These swan-sung flights bearing the holy cup

At heart, high font. For his and for her part

Are broken grounds forever building way,

Are knights, blood-drenched in Sansfoi, robed in light,

Are kingly shepherds mired in shear-shorn clay

Unfurled, congloried over all our blight.

The cupola is, oh still, the cornerstone,

The crown and scepter the first lowly step,

The genuflected Fiat flesh and bone

Decked in those flowers—Saints—who show her depth.

The blueprint and the palace here are one:

Grace grace-garland crownèd with, by, her Son.

The Fire of St. Lawrence

Incensed, Valerian scorned the heavenly deed,

Demanded the dead grave idols Mammon made,

And like them, dead mouthed, blind eyed, bade

The blood from out that shepherd’s veins be freed.

In fires the Romans could not see or feed,

If passus est or assus est, he burned

The palm frond crown capped Lenten coal, Easter,

Sparked risen from his gridled blood-born Creed.

For he had flamed, long fore Valerian fired,

His heart, a grill purged of all earthly dross,

A Deacon keeping sheep from hell’s sad throe: 

His Church the Holy Spirit’s blaze attired,

The Christ-come strangers saved from burning loss,

The three-day gathered seared in worldly woe.

The Sevened Heart

What mother mourned her child’s death at birth?

What bride bedecked her wedding gown with black,

Or gave her heart to sword, a barren mirth?

No wonder would such lonely Lady lack.

Her sorrows sevened from the Prophet’s call

Over the Christ her Son: Egypt-flown,

Lost, hidden in His Father’s house, His fall

Before His cross-death, body brought down

And buried in the earth and in the heart

Of she whose womb bore Him for whom the world

Had groaned. Oh, could a greater light impart

Or greater grace white-fringe her grieving robe?

These treasures are her Sevened Heart, Envoy

Eternal, Sacred Rite and Solemn Joy.

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