Tag Archives: martyr

Cinders At The Bright Gates

Chosen, St. Catherine, St. Michael had come to her,

led her to where the sword was behind the altar,

told her to make a banner of Jesus in Heaven,

and she went to war.


She sat on her steed, the tall and dark warhorse,

and looked out at the battle field. She’d carried the day.

She felt the light of the sun warming her skin

beneath her armor.


Frail from the war, the muddy camps, and little food.

Tired, but willing to go on, willing to drink from her bitter cup.

She grieved even for the enemies cut down, for the carrion crows.

For all this wicked world could be.


She turned her head, and looked to the sky.

The sun was bright and untroubled by it’s sight.

Was it not the eye of God, after all?

Did it not see all this blood and death?


A fire in the castle burned, and Joan was transfixed.

St. Catherine and St. Michael had told her what was to be.

She drank from her bitter cup, but the weight was the sky.

Fire would raise her ashes to heaven, cinders at the bright gates.

No Grace Forlorn

Even on this bitter and cold morn, their is bird song.

The little brook rolls and gurgles and babbles along.

Sunlight, but darkness for me will come before long.

I turn my face to the blue sky, for to air I will belong.


My body is torn, broken, but I stand now so proud.

I am in the hands of my enemies, an invading shroud.

I did not break. I did not give in. I said no name aloud.

I don not feel their eyes, or the angry sniggers of the crowd.


A teetering, improvised gallows, the pull the noose down.

I think of the haunted forests, and family, in my little town.

They offer pardon, they offer relief, if I give names, breakdown.

I say: “You will know their names when they snatch your crown.”


And I hear a bird sing, high and clear in the cold morn.

I know in spring the war will rage, as animals are born.

I close my eyes, I have been strong, my true face so worn.

Drop and snap, darkness claims me, no grace forlorn.

A Favored Angel

The train shakes and trembles, shivers as the snow falls,

and the naked and craggy trees claw at the grey, cataract sky.

Come so far, and still so far to go, out in the western wastes,

but do I still adore and revere her? Love so hard no to come by.

In lucid dreams I sent myself to the palace, to her world,

the mischievous daughter and her snicker, games and tricks.

Playing in the summer sun I made a favored angel, soft, warm,

and us, sweetly holding hands as the sun fell, my tears pinpricks.

I read of her, a trickster, but faithful and the high family of hers,

that hid their faces, like the sun and God’s face in the dark winter,

as the red spilled across the land and the white was pushed out,

they lived their sacred dream, thinking The Devil would never enter.

Those lucid dreams, when I was a lost boy, adrift on a bitter, alkaline sea,

where I made a kingdom around her, and what I couldn’t find in waking.

But why love royalty, the free bleeding kings on top of this world?

Perhaps my adoration is better from the lowly daughters in ale partaking.

The window fogs and the world goes dark, though all if it is still there.

I can’t see the trees that are an angry crone’s fingers, see her gouge the stars.

I see without the light my own unquiet thought and slithering anger,

and the hope that I met her in heaven, and that all of time would be ours.

Another day, and I’ll be to where she was executed, and to the church built

to her and her martyred family, to the place that was the last light in heat death

of my mind and all the blooms I’d tended in my dreams to give a beauty to dreams,

and the worlds I’d made with my hope, for one who never felt the warmth of her baby’s breath.


A child, yes a child, a teenager, a young woman.
The war was turned, like a tide rolling out again,
pushed back by blood and light, unseen things.

No wedding day, the war had to turn, or all would
be subsumed and lost, but centuries later, it all was.
Her banner led her grace, bravery, before the night.

The fires consumed her, but the unconsuming ones
never touched her, her ashes up to the sky, to heaven,
to the God who chose her for this, formed her for this.

A child, a teenager, young women, heart unburned,
heart still pure despite the war, and everything else taken.
Whole and wet and ruddy, a relic when God was near.

Wide meadows by the forests and the silver, cold creeks.
Dreams beneath the sky as the lambs graze and gambol.
All was won, but all this time lost, but she is free forever.


I stand over her grave, the hole still open, the casket holding her

               Tiny and fierce body still there to see, gleaming and bright in

               A distant sun, as she sails across the black river to Elysium.

               A warm and sunny spring day, life beginning and returning,

               The winter past for another year, and Eden seems so close

               In the forests and by the little rivers, and in the hope for tomorrow.

               Across the world you went, to where the innocents were lost, slain

               And The Devil was so clearly winning, and you, as your Savior said to,

               Fought Those Legions, and pushed back against the dark.

               You were a Lamb, whereas I was not even a Goat, just lost in myself,

               Getting drunk every night, hitting on waitresses and strippers,

               Who put up with it for big tips, knowing a sucker when they saw one.

               I left the fight to you, while I disappeared into my own broken mind.

               And now you are gone, your tiny and fierce body laid to rest, your wild

               And loyal heart stilled, and the dream that was you gone to that other world,

               And I try to remember your voice, your face, the light in your brown eyes.

               I drink straight from a bottle of red wine, can’t go without as my heart breaks,

               And the tears come and shame watches over me, as you always saw so much more,

               So much more in me than I’ve ever been, ever even tried to be.

               And yet, I remember, remember all that I saw you do, a Lamb who comforted

               And fed and visited and stood by and fought for, even in a war torn land,

               For you did not love your life unto the death.

Though you lay in the ground, though you cross a sunless river, you got to eternal spring

               And never ending light, and the presence of love and warmth and peace without end,

               And we all know your name, and we all want to be Lambs like you.

               In my tears, drunkenness and brokenness, I pray that I could be twice like you.

               I pray it, as spring is here and life begins again, and maybe a lost spirit can too.

Angel, Angel

Angel, angel,
angel on the mountain,
angel in the grey winter sky.
Why, sweet angel,
was your precious blood shed?
Why did you have to die?
Once, in a dream,
once when I found a shard of Eden,
I felt your hand holding mine.
Once, in a dream,
I knew the peace of your light,
that this was a holy sign.
I kneel at the marker
that has your name, counts your years,
touching the cold brass in the rain.
I knew your from your shrine,
and knew I wanted to be like you,
but I blew out the stars with the fury of my pain.
Angel, angel,
angel in the mountain,
angel still alight in the Colorado sky.
Can I be the light you were,
be the warmth of love and the sun?
Will I see you finally, when I die?
Dedicated to RJS.