Poems from South-West France

1. AT LOURDES

Bernadette,
ascesis of anguish,
your wooden shoes
carved the sacred tree

how many waters of sound part the silence?

Knives of stone clarity
jagged prayer of watchful hills
battered Reign, we beg, do not abandon us

to the ascetic night of spiders
drawn in silver webs of grace
flowing outward, beyond

as pain recoils
from love
a last time

saint of severed bone
fingers worn in rosary stream

stations on the way of liberation
we share in the banquet of the broken

 

2. AT THE CHURCH OF SAINT QUITERIA IN AIRE-SUR-L’ADORE

To live this day
in folds of martyring night
where blood loves its soil
spent in the winepress’ brisk rage

your grave to call us home
withering sheen of another’s tomb
your credo white, a poetry of wildflowers,
the lilies’ longing raw: go out in green

sacramental, free, and carve the stone
you would have call you its home

red words engrafted white
down the stairs of Saint Quiteria’s flight
where silence heals beheadings
and doves bury your sister

the way moss psalms its sorrow bright
aspiring to name colours of ancient loves
in the crypt a sarcophagus stays
a hesychia anointing each day

 
3. AT THE CRYPT OF SAINT GIRONS

Saint Girons the martyr’s claw
churns the soil fertile and raw
as the Abbey’s outline plays its tune

and Charlemagne’s moon secures its pitch
adoring plainchant of lily and land
cupped for wine in evangelists hands.

Will I go down the stair unknown
to rise prostrate in martyr’s groves

and will you retrieve the Word-sewn flesh
pining light pure in personified rest?

Saint Girons the bark still gnaws
cut from trees obscuring shores
as the chapel’s outline plays its tune

 

4. AT THE BIRTHPLACE OF SAINT VINCENT DE PAUL

The bells caress Our Lady of Buglose.

Ink filled with Pentecostal glow
baptising the paper on which I write

dry bones ignite
the rain’s incensing wind

small Passover storms
dissolving the riddle of self.

Relics call the fever of dawn
ascesis of light
where faith gnaws its cloth
in the shape of Christ.

Palms of the Way
waters of shade
in prayer-spray’s Reign
I will go and die with him

lighting my loneliness
with Easter’s presence
burning the silence with flames kindled
by knees bent in love

arc of sternum drizzled in blood
fingers crying the severed night

as bells caress Our Lady of Buglose.

(poems from Wildflower Psalms out now via Wild Goat Press)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s