Ecclesia Semper Reformanda Est [rev. 11-22-2018]

Ecclesia Semper Reformanda Est
-For the Reverend James S. 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&elder 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 until death do us part…a rejected stone

placed like every growing pang’s first corner.
Looking now, all my restlessness
come to rest in peace,
here am I, cultivating the Wasteland

with your ever ancient roses,
renewing fire and ice
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

through the fairest of all veils?
The Queen of the South, her wetted hair now raised 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 to his return.
Twelve perpetual lights adorn her hair as she magnifies the lamplight,
casting off all worldly cares
of the 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 lifted veil.


A voice, hearkened upon Easterly winds,
sounds of many flowing waters. Can Life go any other Way?
I raise my head in search of a new star’s lamplight,
descending from unknown’s cloud, revealing new ground.

What eye squints looking for my name?
Here am I! I am Nemo! Holy Andrew’s Cross,
thrust with my heart, rejoins my knees with dirt
as we flee with sheep below a blinded dragon.

What child is this,
drawn out of the river–
saved by the flowing of waters
for adoption? What name do you give him?

The roads impassible (our name must decrease–),
the steps disturbed over the foundation, (so His Name may increase)
foundation righted from the cornerstone.
Emmanuel! Maranatha! Restore the House!

Praised be Our Lord for His Salvation
with Holy Matrimony’s restoration
by Way of Sacramental elevation
to dignify His Holy Family’s Holy Name.