Ecclesia Semper Reformanda Est

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,

you stopped
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.
Emmanuel! Maranatha!
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.

Converting an ‘I’ to a ‘u’

Converting an ‘I’ to a ‘u’
-After His Excellency, the Most Reverend Thomas James Olmsted

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man,
As modest stillness and humility;
–William Shakespeare, Henry V, Act III, Scene I

When father wrote to all his sons how they’d become good men,
He cried to them of virtue in the valley of our tears
To stir his sons to soldierly and overcome their fears,
“Take heart! For you are called to kneel together to defend!”

He signed, then raised his shield and cried the Wisdom of his years
To order, rank, and set we watchmen at each city gate
That when the Vandals charge the walls with ramparts and with spears
The call to arms could draw a battle line that none could break.

“Men, see this shield and see my tears and be so armed each day–
These both are swords I wield for you to fortify the way.
These swords are crosses we embrace in strife to spite all strife–
Are offered on the Cross’s Way through death unto new life…

Now be so armed! Now bear your wounds! Now nobly sacrifice!
Rebuke our Enemy! Route our Foe! Renounce the Liar’s lies!
Correct your brother’s evils and admonish every sin!
Who is like Him whose life, laid down, could take life up again?”

With she who stands behind our tears, we humbly bend our knee–
We vanguard shield, the Mantle of our Mother’s Victory:
Hail, Seat of Wisdom, bearing Mercy’s reign unto His Throne,
Each decade passing with your tears defends Our Father’s Home.

After Auguste Rodin

After Auguste Rodin

Our contemplation long past twilight’s watch–
I spy upon our kiss of you I knew
whom I was formed to come to know.

Your reaching arm and all you are replace
the weighted crutch of mine upon my thigh
and I gaze down no more for your embrace.

What is unseen is pressing toward your lips
as your recline brings both your arms to hold
youth’s mystery of closer yet than this.

In letting go of all your reaching, arms
suspend you from succumbing to the grave
as life between us springs eternally.

I have no strength for else than raising you!
Sheer grace of elevating beauty kneels,
and kissing you where youth is born

this man continues falling from the flesh
still rising downward where our watch began:–
above the Gates below the Shades o’er Hell.