The Quarrelsome Man

A quarrel’s but a line baited with truth,
Self-defense, a lure to swallow the hook;
Rising up, now sinking, in chaotic abyss,
Finding no harbor from that Old Crook.

Without a master free from such passion,
Consumed by the hunger of those he will find;
Like the venom of that beast long forgotten,
Be wrecked as by rot in his arrogant mind.

Evil spirits ravish then this poor soul,
Hooked both by the tongue and the throat;
A quarrelsome man spills his soul on his foe,
Brought forth by the sword from his own gloat.

The Night Is Swiftly Passing On and I Must Ring the Bell

The night is swiftly passing on
and I must ring the bell.
Holiday winds blow sweetly
the words which I now tell.
Come winter, come yuletide,
mid-season’s hearts now swell.

Each year passes labors long
tween our joyous meetings.
But upon the calendar now sits
a time for kinfolk greetings.
We’ll raise our song to drink
and share in bounty’s eatings!

Do not delay my friends
let us know you’re coming.
Let not the children with
the babysitter be slumming.
All are welcome and wanted
only frowns are unbecoming.

Epyllion

My Father’s Grandfather now sings from the grave;
I beg inspiration from your God to intone.

This seed seeks remembrance, the fruit of your tree;
That fell to the soil once sprouted, now grown.

North of Angel City, to the land of the hells;
A willing servant by spirit-wind blown.

Speaking for the broken, beaten in dry lands;
A man stood condemned for what he condoned.

Find a wife, add a daughter, and a son; this seed;
Such great fruit summoned the tree that had sown.

While still a bud, he learned words of power;
Calling forth fish by command from sea-foam.

But the calling had grasped him at his core;
Their divine energy animated his bones.

First in sight of the sea and scrubbed hills;
Then in the great valley he spoke under their domes.

Wife called the blind, saw to his two children;
Loved safe in the castle he carved from the stone.

Kept his good house and looked out for his needs;
So in the stead of the damned he might stand alone.

At him empty men spoke spears of cold fire;
Made outlaw unjustly, homeless he roamed.

“I have come not to seek myself but my brothers;
Grace give to the dead, to the living unknown.”

He said, “Fear not, those weak from this hunger;
For together our feasting and singing atone.”

Famine, envy and spite burst forth to do battle;
Thus knowing his fate, the scars he bid welcome.

By heaven’s good gift, each barb turned a blessing;
A lifetime of cuts carved an old face winsome.

He saw the invisible, heard the voice of the mute;
With each hand clasped made friend the lonesome.

Now this seed speaks the last truth you have given;
And repay the debt by writing this tome.

Father sang Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty;
Ever ringing out, long after God took him home.

Radiance of the Father

By the light which shone upon mount Tabor
That those yet in darkness lost could be found
Of your own will but in obedience
–to the Father; you suffered, crucified

Show us that happy way, that graceful light
Brothers let us attract God without guile

Your glory still enlightens your disciples
–as far as we can bear that vision
We have learned to cast out our sinful eyes
And better blind in the kingdom, we see

For the greatest of the least little child
With a curse to them that keep him from you
That great weight as you bore voluntary
Should be a chain firm ’round their cruel necks

Show us the golden way now uncovered
It is easy for the lowly of heart

We will then become as children so that
We might sit in the midst of all the saints
Even in front of him who is the Christ
The very Radiance of the Father

Beware Modernity

Wade the shore of Phlegethon, soul cold beyond fear
Starved gaunt of self-knowledge by dream’s malnutrition
Reality’s freedom exchanged for hunger’s fantasy

Narcissus detects no regret reflected in empty eyes
A will so enfeebled that it cannot pierce its heart
He’ll depart this life alone without friend or foe

Depleted storehouses stand as echos of Esau’s folly
The land falls into ruin with the gardener’s death
His dry bones feed no soil but poison the stream

A vital capital pumped through his empty carcass
Drawn by harlot organs absent of soul’s restraint
The wealth of nature exhausted by the logic of profit

Had he escaped this blue pearl the stars would dim
All the sky would flicker and in time’s measure fade
An effort that heaven’s golden horde cannot satisfy

Woe prisoners of Dis with eyes that chew young sisters
Betrayers of a noble virtue the wretched inhospitable
Death has come already to the host that eats his guests

Death, for him, becomes life because he has no other
His will to live deserts him and his passions flow
An addiction worse than death bites as he consumes himself

Three Lamps Full

Who’s lights burn bright into the night, but those with oil?
Linger still the wait of blows, three lamps full endured.

Fruit of blooded ground born of Wonder-working George.
Now in four day procession loft his banner high.

Christopher suffered of torments;
Theonas gloried Christ as God;
Anthony with his brothers burned;
Still three lamps full light up the night.

Now brothers let us prepare for the Bridegroom comes!

Untainted Glory

Patriarch of Constantinople

Of the great city, that center of spheres
You were born and raised its eminent son.
Noted as judge of men in high repute
Then given to advise the empire’s head.
Led first astray embracing heresy
Then recanting took the heavy schema.
From the lowly repentance monastic
You were recalled to sit upon the throne.

They thought you a servant of thrones of men
But your heart had long belonged to your God.
Holy Tarasius restored union
And the icons of Constantinople.
Hailed high from Rome to Alexandria
Your zeal sealed the end of iconoclasm.
Held the council against the threatening mob
Yet gracefully reproved your enemies.

You endured these controversies and lies
Judgments too wise for the narrow to see.
Scandalizing pious busybodies
Though you offered them their pound of your flesh.
Loyal you did receive disloyalty
Friendly you received only animus.
In thoughtful wisdom you tempted the fools
And in forgiving brought judgment on your self.

What a struggle for peace and unity,
What a strong heart for your brother fellows,
What a hope of that sainthood foretasted,
May our mistakes be as blessed as yours!

And may we know that untainted glory.

Mercy and the Greatness of Law

I have reached the edge
Of what can be said
By a child like me
About mercy
And the greatness
of the Law

Grace demonstrated
Goodness anticipated
So the law remains pure
And the stars secure
Clemency’s hand
upholds the ideal

Law need not compromise
Still grace my surprise
An untarnished glass
Open for sunlight to pass
For the purpose of law
to light up the heart

By mercy freed to inspire
Still helps feet not to tire
Mercy exposes flexibility
In the glory of law’s clarity
Turning a dead contract
into a living bond

Mercy rightfully lauds the lawgiver
Draws what law could not deliver
More than the mind’s contract
Together they draw the soul intact
Nothing is as a wage
but a joyful gift

Mercy’s sweet embrace
Washes peace across my face
Tears of joy draw me in
Where law alone could not win
And so divine purpose
is fulfilled in love

I have reached the edge
Of what can be said
By a child like me
About mercy
And the greatness
of the Law

One Hundred and Twenty Eight

Waged long ago, two kingdoms in forgotten war,
Mazdah struck Jupiter, Shapur felled Jovian.
Shapur, self-proclaimed paragon of ancestors,
By will alone reshaped his kingdom protean.

Hailed he as king o’er kings the son of Ormizd blazed
Tyrant’s light shone wicked by the bodies burning.
Where are your towers over Macedonia,
Or exult praise from history discerning?

The ones your edict slew were stars of higher sphere,
Their crowns far nobler than the horns upon your brow.
Your false virtue’s conceit betrayed your lowly rank,
Humble they rose to where your pride would not allow.

O Sadoc martyr, shepherd called by Simeon,
To whom the feudal lords of earth could not dictate,
Endured torture in a prison long turned to dust
And rose to heaven with one hundred and twenty eight.