The Wisdom of Others
Concerning Pain

"There is no real evil in life, except great pain; all the rest is imaginary, and depends on the light in which we view things."

~~ Marie de Sevigne (c. 1680)

"When you understand what you see, you will no longer be children. You will know that life is pain, that each of us hangs always upon the cross of himself. And when you know that this is true of every man, woman, and child upon the earth, you will be wiser."

~~ Whittaker Chambers (1952)

"Damn the Light"

A man on his knees; superlative supplicant
bowed before me in a sacred space.
You beseech, implore; invoke graven images
of Christ, dare the designer to spring from the cross,
to render redemption just in time for tea for two.
Sing on a swing; for me, for you.
You hum sacrilegious proposals
of coupled connubiality, kiss scars left and right
below the navel, leave none of your own.

In a monastery at dusk, I am cautioned
to come earlier to see light through the panes.
Whitewashed arches of revelations
caterwaul in raw relief against dimly lit
glassine ceilings of heaven. A thwack to the head
says itís better being kept in the dark.

I spread my fingers on the choir loft rail;
absorb the stone, assimilate the grief,
convert the light. I phosphoresce,
am told I am going to hell. Touched by divinity,

I touch your shoulder. You shimmer on your knees.
A monk outside our cloister falls to his.
Swears to all who will listen --
he saw providence scorched in vain,
vainly, that Eve through stained glass pains.

© 2000 MJM

Featured in the July/August 2001 edition of Wired Art from Wired Hearts


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