Thursday, 30 July 2015

An Ode to Mary Magdalene

A poem written on the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene

Seven demons did shroud thy soul
And lust for pleasure-false did drive
Thy flesh;
For thou wert adulteress
Most busy in wickedness.

Yet one day caught in act perverse
Thou wast dragged before a mob poised
To stone;
But thy true lover yet unknown
Stopped the rain of justice thrown.

“Is there no one who condemns you?”
Spoke he in lofty tone refined,
“No sir”
She said, “Then nor do I, just
Go and sin no more in lust.”

Then rising she didst go her way
Feeling new and walking at pace
Most slow;
Repentant tears dripping down
That did her old desires drown.

And words of his went ‘round in mind
And the piercing gaze which to her
He gave,
Kept her up at night like fuel
Doused on flame that would not cool.

For yea this inner flame made weep
That maid in whom this fire’s licks
Did blaze;
A flame which her tears could not
Put out but rather made more hot.

The Penitent Mary Magdalene, Giacomo Galli, 1620-1640.

Then once had passed three sleepless nights,
Filled with tossing’s and restless pants
Of love;
That flame now did roar so fierce,
Causing her heart at last to pierce.

So pierced thus she ran madly ‘bout
As a lover that her lover
Doth seek;
Roaming up and down those streets,
Still draped in her bedding sheets.

“Dost thou know where my lover is?”
She desperately asked watchman
Of walls;
But each did say “nay” to her,
But still nothing could deter.

Until at last when morning came
The voice of her lover unknown
Did sound;
And despite the crowded place
Whence voice came, in she went with haste.

And there she held her lovers face,
Blushing like virgin most chaste
That loves;
For though men her flesh had touched
Her heart ‘till now remained untouched.

It was then that without delay
She leapt like a stag to his feet
And wept;
Washing those feet with her tears
And with her lips kissing smears.

Then drying his feet with her hair,
So softly and with devotion
Like care;
From jar of her heart uncoil
Anointed them with sweetest oil.

And though repulsed were all that crowd,
Scandalised by love so profound
And bold;
He defended her with sword
Of word which did her love laud.

Thus breathing with delight that scent,
The Lord and her commenced courting
Right then
When drawing sword: “Much your sins
But much more is your love that wins.”

Henceforth she followed him her knight
So close, ardent to learn and taste
His ways;
Oft’ lost in ecstasy still
Enraptured by face of Will.

And when one time she was rebuked
For being lost in her lovers gaze
In praise;
The Lord himself to Martha said:
“She the better path doth tread.”

And it was either then and there,
Or shortly before or after
Some said:
That they were mystically engaged
With her a virgin remade.

Now the day had come when the two
Were to be bonded in wedlock
Of soul;
The groomsman already had went,
But the best man John was present.

And many bridesmaids were about,
With both their Mother eagerly
At hand;
With groom on cross bleeding much
As bride his feet with lips did touch.

And vows they professed with pangs shared,
Yet before he could give his ring
He died,
Leaving bride to weep at his side,
Joining Mother whom too cried.

Now bitter indeed days went by
Or more like three thousand years of
Loud cries;
For nothing could she console
Who had lost her very soul.

Yet when three days had come she went
To tomb with spices to scent corpse
Of groom;
But upon arrival there
The stone was moved, her groom nowhere.

Most frantically she ran about
Until she saw a gardener
She thought;
“O do you know where” said she
“They’ve taken my lover?” to he.

“Mary” said he with lover’s voice;
“My teacher! My groom!” shouted she
With glee;
As lunging on him she held firm,
Locking mystic wedlock in turn.

Christ's Appearance to Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection,
Ivanov, 1834.

Then saying “that’s enough my dear”
He loosed her grip and gave her a
Sweet kiss;
Then slid on her left finger
That ring which he kept for her.

“Now go and tell the rest I’ve come,
That I’ve risen from the dead as
I said.”
“Yes my dear” she said, “but please,
One more kiss before I leave.”

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Nymph-Like Virgin’s Milk

A mystical poem drawing analogies from Scripture and Greek Mythology, with our Lady as the 'Nymph-Like Virgin' and True Devotion to Her the means of nourishing one's acts, one's babes that is, with the milk of the nine 'peaches' -alluding to the nine muses- representing the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." (Gal 5:22-23a). The ‘peaches’ are also an allegory of unique Divine Lives or Divine Acts embodied and enacted by Christ Jesus in His Paschal Mystery which we are called to make our own in our every act. Yet this cannot be achieved by reaching with our own imperfect desire, but only by making use of Mary's desire -this Desire who is the Holy Spirit Himself, since She is 'full of grace', 'full of the Holy Spirit' - through a bold and filial faith.

A Nymph in the Forest, Lenoir Charles Amable.

O supple and sweet,
To me come leap,
Each of ye strange coloured
Dumpling like peach;

That grow most green,
-Nine succulent fruits-
From bare limbs of laurel
As mouthful’s of grace.

Babes little, hunger beneath,
Though arms mine can’t reach;
So “Virgin dear, help” smile I,
Whilst laying down strength mine.

Whence nymph-like Virgin leans
Slender to grasp each peach,
Taking bite from all with lips red
Till three on six all gone.

Then nourishment nine
Neatly was turned in flesh to milk,
Which filled all my bottles
With manna snow to feed my babes.

And though laurel lost peaches all,
Luscious fruits now bloom in place
More supple and sweet than last,
So nymph-like Virgin still I ask.

 4-5 July, 2015.