Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy by Anton van Dyck, between 1627 and 1632
by Michael Williams (February 2022)
Rogue world, alone, adrift upon the void,
Eternal bedfellow to cosmic dust;
Contented to all stellar realms avoid,
Basking in placid darkness; and my crust
Rimed o’er in stillborn atmosphere and seas –
A global frost as hard as adamant!
No eye beholds my vast topographies,
No neighbor treks across my firmament.
Yet nudged a bit by universal motions,
A star arrests me with its phantom forces
And dreaded sunlight floods upon my face:
Now slowly ice melts into sky and oceans,
Zoetic flourishings shall run their courses,
And I have found community in space.
LORD, please fast-forward me into tomorrow
That, JESUS, I might render you my sorrow.
Restore a SON to what he rashly squandered
When in his days OF dissolution, wandered –
No, fled, – from his GOD, chasing after wind;
What sins delight, these HAVE I surely sinned.
An alien to MERCY and to hope;
Spare me, and make a twitch UPON the rope
Of grace, stretched round the world to grow A thinner
Emaciated soul; convert this SINNER.
the gory waterfall of calvary —
what else can cleanse the grime, the filthy sludge,
the cuts and burns and bile make remedy
or else our species’ wicked souls to budge?
no romance was so gritty, nor a toil
for love so worth the name of agony,
nor shame embraced that made the world recoil:
degradation redeems depravity
the worldwide wail (that rattles heaven’s walls)
of wretchedness that, knowing or denied,
squeezes God’s heart of mercy and recalls
why He in foul humiliation died
and for that poignant and flamboyant death
i kiss the crucifix with stinky breath
Michael Williams is a Catholic convert, a crude man of letters, a bleeding heart and a goofball. He – like St. Francis – is wedded to poverty, but with moderate success. His interests (apart from writing) include smoking cigarettes, drinking beer and whiskey, reading history books, being a movie snob, and entertaining his friends. He lives in Anchorage, Alaska, and in addition to the New English Review, has also been published in the St. Austin Review, Catholic Anchor, and White Rose Magazine.
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