Monday, September 16, 2013

Songs On Fire

May the Lord be generous in increasing your love and make you love one another and the whole human race as much as we love you. And may he so confirm your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless in the sight of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all his saints.
                                                                                1 Thessalonians 3:12-13(Universalis)

                                                                                                     Google Images

                                               Before The Saints’ Bones                                                                                                              (St Lawrence Cathedral  Trogir, Croatia)

                                          We stand with death alone
                                           In a crowded room. 
                                           To each his own speechlessness 
                                           Tumbling down the hollows of loss,

                                           Folding back and back
                                           The echoes of mortality

                                           Centuries of blood ran through;
                                           Down the long shafts of dusty bones 

                                           Or those we stand upon,
                                           Marble after marble

                                           Shapes of us beneath the sanctity of light
                                                And intricate lofts of the stone-spun lace.

                                           Our humanity's leaning relief
                                           Above relics in their velvet-quiet box

                                           We close in our stare 
                                           And remains of disbelieving. 

                                           Our supple, trying flesh
                                           Still bright and breathing

                                           Above the difficult languages of stone
                                           And dark phrases of the open ground,

                                           Within songs on fire 
                                           The saints are singing

                                           For love of our Lord and God,
                                           For all that were, and are becoming,

                                           And could have been,
                                           And could have been.


  1. This is another amazing poem, my spirit feels as though I am standing in the presence of the Martyrs; drawing His courage, love and life from what appears to this world as death, yet "with songs on fire the saints are singing" A provocative, inspiring and beautiful poem! I could linger at your blog all day Cynthia! Blessings to you!

    1. Thanks so much Heidi for your beautiful comments! The saints are so amazing and with us so fully. So glad you stopped by and many blessings to you!!!

  2. "to each his own speechlessness" -- love that. The last stanza is haunting...the repetition echoes, as, I imagine it must have in a relics room surrounded widely by the cathedral's marble walls. Interestingly, while "could have been" seems at first to be regretful, we, the readers, are still quite alive -- with time, yet, to do God's work. For me, I'm seeing God's call to action everywhere I look ;) Love to you! A.

    1. Thanks Amy!! The could have been has layers. One is all the murdered babies in the womb who could have been here with us. Another is all those who could have been saints. There are nuances and connotations for other meanings. The repetitions of "could have been" refers a bit to the "folding back and back the echoes of mortality" and "the hollows of loss." The cathedral did reverberate sound or amplify it yet it was so quiet and contemplative for a crowd as we stood taking in the relics before us. Your comments are so insightful and thorough and I appreciate the thought that goes into them a great deal. You are so kind...God Bless and love to you too..and "God's call to action everywhere"!!

  3. Wow; thank you for the thoughtful reply -- I didn't realize just how multi-layered the last stanza was -- thank you for sharing that. And upon my last reading, I found the 10th stanza, "Above the difficult languages of stone/And dark phrases of the open ground;" to be striking, as well as "our humanity leaning out in relief." - I love how that plays off the carved stone/marble statuary/artwork in the cathedral. Beautiful.