Ecclesia Semper Reformanda Est
-For the Reverend James Torrens, S.I.
Below many falls
when the Sun shown
the third hour’s
shadows and torn garments,
and sat looking over
the rapids as they fled
the trees’s sublimity.
Burnt beyond more
than all I had feared,
having forgotten Zion,
my right hand struck sulfur.
The smoke of the corpse of Babylon rose
carried East for what seemed ages upon ages
from my bound and rattling wrists and rigid dactyls:
a census was taken–lots cast for a seamless garment–
those of fighting age were counted,
those chained to the grain-mills were renumbered,
the rest–undesirable–were anesthetized and sterilized
while the world’s prince profited on infant blood.
How could I sit still with you–
so tranquil by that running river
in the last of your collection–
and not recollect so many rejections?
Looking backwards, all memories and mares
of wounding wounded wounds–
I sting of a pillar of salt
sterilizing in purgation.
Returning to look forward
into the unknown’s cloud,
I anticipate change, for better or worse:
more painful joy…a rejected stone placed
like every growing pang’s first corner.
Looking now, all my restlessness
come to rest in peace.
All I have and call my own,
my ever ancient roses,
renewed by fire and ice,
are received to float upon the sea
at ease in the evening shadows
below Qumran’s caves,
drifting towards Masada.
Do you remember Melchizedek’s offering?
The aroma of incense rising
with the fairest of all veils?
The Queen of the South, her wetted hair now up?
Her gown white as snow–ever set away from Ge-Hinnom’s fires,
ever raised above Armageddon’s shadows? Her lamp still burning for him?
Here she is, standing atop the ascent looking tp his return.
Twelve perpetual lights adorn her hair as she magnifies the lamplight,
casting off all worldly cares
of a vanishing shine of Sun or Moon.
That suffocating abyss, the lifeless sea,
its hour’s salt spent at last,
recedes from the mouth of the river
that overflows from behind the opened veil.
A voice, hearkened upon Easterly winds,
sounds of many flowing waters.
I raise my head in search of a new star’s lamplight
descending out of unknown’s cloud to reveal new ground.
What eye squints looking for my name?
Here I am! I am Nemo! Holy Andrew’s Cross,
thrust through the lens, rejoins my knees with dirt
as we flee with sheep below a blinded beast.
What child is this,
drawn out of the river–
saved by the flowing of waters
for adoption? What name do you give him?
Our name must decrease
so His Name may increase.
Can Life go any other Way?
Praised be God for His salvation
with Holy Matrimony’s restoration
by the dignity of its Sacramental elevation
within His Holy Family’s Holy Name.