domenica, ottobre 23, 2005

Two Poems

In Subiaco

Within the world of men there are
(Or so the rumour goes)
Some men who love the motorcar
The way its fuel explodes
The angry pistons’ rumbling
The screech of spinning tires
And smoke and flame and bubbling
Combustion’s fumes and fires.

Of others yet I have been told
Who fly into a rage
At mention of the things of old.
The prophet and the sage
They’ll bind and flog and crucify
Within the marketplace
And all the while they’ll shriek and sigh
And curse the fickle fates.

With these I’ll hold no concourse now
Perhaps some other time
For now I’ll bend my head, and bow,
I’ll not commit the crime
Of shallow men, of hollow men
Of men who desecrate
The dead they cannot understand
Who can but curse the fates.

Here is a silence, and a peace
We cannot replicate.
Our music our motorcars
Cannot approximate.
For all this blessed hallowed ground
Once looked upon the face
The silent boy whose searching found
Our God within a cave.

These ancient stones I’ll lean against
I’ll smoke a quiet pipe
I’ll close my book, put down my pens
And bask within the light,
The double warmth, of sun and Son,
Joint guardians of these graves
And marvel that the greater one
Was found within a cave.

A Translation of a 16th Century Inscription on St. Benedict's Cave

Lumina si quaeris, Benedicte. Quid elegis antra?
Quaesite servant luminis antra nihit
Sed perge in tenebris radiorum quaerer lucem:
Nonmisi ab obscura sidera nocte micant.

If you are searching for the light

Why do you choose the darkened cave?
The cave shall never offer you

The light for which you crave.

But, Benedict, stay in your cave

Keep searching for that shining light
For stars, they never shine above

But in the midst of blackest night.