Rapt Angel

Bodhisattva - The Beach of the Dead - Doctrine - Intentions - La Stella Della Danza / The Star of the Dance - The Pastor’s Awakening

 

Bodhisattva

 

My neck is sore from looking up at all those golden things.

Rapt angel, drop downward from your pink abode.

Bring solace to the creeping things that have no wing or soul.

Illuminate just once this darkened path and show us what you mean by love.

By Fra Angelico, from  Three Predella Panels , after 1491, in the Courtauld Gallery, London (Photo RYC)

By Fra Angelico, from Three Predella Panels, after 1491, in the Courtauld Gallery, London (Photo RYC)

 

The Beach of the Dead

 

Before me stretch the lime shades of my third margarita

and in front of me lap the gentle blue-green waves of Playa de los Muertos.

I raise my glass, rim-frosted in salt

to all those who are actually doing something

about the miseries of the world,

from the nuns in the mega-slum of Neza-Chalco-Izta

(the Ciudad Perdida or Lost City on the outskirts of Mexico City)

to the doctors in the jungles of the eastern Congo.

General view of Mushaba IDP camp in Katanga province, Democratic Republic of the Congo, DRC. Photo: OCHA/Gemma Cortes. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44821#.Vm3RlhorK-4

General view of Mushaba IDP camp in Katanga province, Democratic Republic of the Congo, DRC. Photo: OCHA/Gemma Cortes. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44821#.Vm3RlhorK-4

I know that you could be sitting back, daquiris in hand

on the beaches of Puerto Vallarta or Cancún

or water-skiing over the blue-green waters of Kalamalka

breathing in deep the deep beauty of the northern pines.

The calcite-rich cyan-to-indigo coloured waters of Lake Kalamalka, B.C. Photo: vernonatriumhotel.ca

The calcite-rich cyan-to-indigo coloured waters of Lake Kalamalka, B.C. Photo: vernonatriumhotel.ca

 I know that you could be thinking that the world is made of order and light

and the laughter of children

but instead you travel into the hills east of Kigali

toward poverty and worlds of darkness.

You dodge the machetes

and clean the same syringe for the fifteenth time

and wonder what miracle might save these people

might multiply like wine this serum

that comes in a bright orange packages

(but there simply aren’t enough bright orange packages).

 

When you try to sleep at night

what will you do with those memories

of an infected village

of a head cracked open

of a camp two miles long?

How will these memories sit with the other memories

of marshmallows around a campfire

and the crackling of the tinder and the pine needles

on a warm summer night

on the shores of Lake Kalamalka?

 

To all you warriors, unsung and unarmored

I raise my glass:

May you, and all those like you, inherit the earth.

Image from www.samaritanspurse.ca

Image from www.samaritanspurse.ca

 

Doctrine

Sometimes it seems that humans are rarefied angels

eloquent as Dante

dancing on the turn of a phrase

on the precise edges of the Primum Mobile

or banked in order, gold on gold

Section from  The Coronation of the Virgin , 1380-85 by Agnolo Gaddi, in the National Gallery, London (photo RYC)

Section from The Coronation of the Virgin, 1380-85 by Agnolo Gaddi, in the National Gallery, London (photo RYC)

At other times they’re dumb as brutes

dogs without loyalty

tattered angels scratching at each other

on some darkened plain

or in a procession — “Mission

Accomplished!” — with fife and drum

In the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilization, in Marseille — I think this was part of a temporary exhibition there (photo RYC)

In the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilization, in Marseille — I think this was part of a temporary exhibition there (photo RYC)

Is it any wonder that preachers talk like mothers

repeating and scolding

till the naughty children sit up straight?

 

 

Pascal Revisited


If the hellfire fundamentalists are right, they’ll be the ones to say,

in between sips of nectar, We told them so.

If the atheists are right, they won’t have that pleasure.

 

 

Intentions

 

Now that it's too late, I recall all the beggars I've walked past

wondering why they didn't get a job (and thought to myself

better they learn for themselves not to give a village a fish)

and all the cries I've heard but didn't listen to

because I had better things to do

 

All the pretty girls I walked up to with their Because I'm a Girl t-shirts

and how I listened very intently with the best intentions, tempted

even to give in and give them what they wanted

but then I walked away, anyway

 

I remembered this as the road got darker

and the grimy gates clanged behind me

and cinders drifted downward from the heavy clouds

stelle 3.jpeg

[Pinocchio, having been (easily) scammed of the coins given to him by Fire Eater, and having turned into a donkey (because of his laziness and gullibility), becomes the star act in a circus.] 

IMG_3668.jpg
IMG_3691.jpg

The Pastor’s Awakening

The pastor revolts at the very sight of the icon

Blessed Mary, Mother of God wrapped in golden foil 

golden calf of sceptre and rote, blood, and babylonian wine 

as if it were anything but blood and wine

symbols, at best

and the Word garbled in an old language no one understands

 

For years he castigated the Whore of Babylon with her ermine robes

and her bread that was more than flour and water

and with her water that was more than wine

 

He became so drunk on his own crimson words

so embittered by the choler that coursed through his veins that he needed a transfusion

 

He returned in secret to the golden altar to drink once again the blood of his God

and feast on the flesh of his imagination

in his cave deep in the troglodyte hills

Then one morning he awoke to the sound of the bells that hovered

above the gargoyles with their cold northern sneer

 

He looked out of his cell window and could almost smell the jonquil and lavender

on the other side of the glass. 

——-

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