Martyrs & Confessors

Suffering is one long moment. We cannot divide it by seasons. We can only record its moods, and chronicle their return. With us time itself does not progress. It revolves. It seems to circle round one centre of pain.

And saints are just witches who
     got away with it, survived Apollo’s
     arrows, arrived to serve your Church
     in time to be denied by
     it, metaphors in the mixture, digging

          through ashes seeking for bones more

delightful than jewels, understanding as I
     do now my job cosmically in
     relation to god’s, that by this
     work sometimes healing occurs by not
     being able to heal at all,

          how love that grows around a

wound reveals, that sown fruit yields
     to scars when harvested by thieves
     who reap another’s crop, our bodies
     this orchard of want desire thrives
     on in setting ascorch with blazing

          dawns and dusks as if just

to say, no one else takes
     better care of us than they,
     those bandits whose nights out ours
     within walls ransom, martyrs and confessors,
     the only difference is what prayers

          we answer, shattered vessels, reliquary ancestors,

our hallowed bones hold within hollows
     what power goes out to show
     those whose wish is to know
     how faith holds, throws together what
     otherwise vanishes beneath earth, shadows howl,

          heal, and blow over ground what

breath of heaven surfaces to sound,
     from a wound grows a flower,
     puncture becomes a chalice, its edges
     lips, its bleeding fragrance bliss kissing
     pain’s radiance, radiating renewed awareness battle

          gives warfare, spiritual as ritual is

active, nothing passive about receiving wisdom
     from defeat and acting on it,
     that is what suffering tasks us
     with, one very long moment the
     extension of which is immortality, what

          Wilde sang of from out of

his depths, for every experience is
     a prison opened when throwing away
     the keys of reason, the only
     mode of knowing is to go
     through and move beyond, becoming something.

1Oscar Wilde, De Profundis, in De Profundis: Preface by Richard Ellmann: Notes by Jason Tougaw, published at New York by The Modern Library in 2000; page 46.