Friday, June 30, 2006

Duke Altum's Poem of the Week #34

Here's a first in this series... I'm posting not one, but two poems from a poet I've never heard of before and have little idea if many others have either... nevertheless, I came across these on another web site -- an online literary journal called The New Pantagruel -- and really, really liked them. In fact, the main reason I decided to post them here is simply that when I had read them, my knee-jerk reaction was to wish that I had written them myself! (In particular that one on marriage -- man did that take me back to the altar on my own wedding day... Song of Songs references and all... I think it's profoundly right on... it's how I would express my marriage commitment, if I had such eloquence!)

Mike Hickerson is the guilty party in question, the poet who brings some very profound and witty insights to both the cross and to the sacrament of marriage. He's taken on some seriously weighty subjects here with wisdom, humility and a sense of humor... my kind of poet! Kudos and admiration for you Mr. Hickerson, whoever you are! -- these are the real thing as far as I'm concerned.



My lapsed-Catholic English prof
laughed: “The passionfruit was Eden’s
tree – it was Adam and Eve’s passion
that God forbade!” A silly joke–
original sin and sex and all that–
and she had it wrong besides. The Jesuits
who began this rumor knew
only one passion, and it
was and is the passion of thorns, nails,
betrayal borne by the suffering
Christ, who hangs low on a tree
so that all may taste.


That day our souls were sealed, we spoke a line
Mysterious in holy power, and strong
Enough to push our naïve love along:
“I my beloved’s; my beloved mine.”

We poured ourselves together and drank deep
Of joy and suffering; we emptied our souls
Into a mutual cup that hopes to hold
All future mixtures that we’ll have to keep.

This doubled life sometimes appears far worse
Than singleness: I bear hurt, sorrow, pain
That are another’s burden, yet I gain
A doubled blessing, not a doubled curse:

When simple words do nothing, weakness needs
The strength of tied-together broken reeds.

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