Holy Empresses

by Walt Garlington (November 2023)

Byzantine Lady, Vanessa Bell, 1912


Holy Adelaide,
Powerful ruler
Of many Western lands,
In the vicissitudes
Of your life—two times
Of buffeting
Followed by two times
Of calm and blessing—
Are reflected the history
Of all the West:
The cruelties of pagan
Rome’s idolatry,
The rise of Orthodoxy,
The fall away from Grace.
The latter continues apace;
Will we see another
Peaceful Christian age?
May God grant it!
And may it be
As steadfast in virtue
As the Empress Theophano,
Whose throne was in the East,
In the City of Constantine,
Who served the poor,
And slept on the floor,
And still works wonders
For those pressed under.

Though she appears dead,
There is hope yet for the West,
Through the pure prayers of these empresses.


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Walt Garlington was born and raised in that part of Dixieland called Louisiana. A chemical engineer by training, he has spent the last several years writing full-time. He has written essays and poems for The Hayride, New English Review, The Tenth Amendment Center, The Abbeville Institute, Reckonin’, Katehon, Geopolitica, and USA Really. He writes regularly at his own web site, Confiteri: A Southern Perspective.

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