Wednesday, March 20, 2013

At the Oxford Martyr's Shrine: Strange Platypus(es)



Latimer and Ridley
Stand in stone pomposity
More presumptuous
Than anything a Jesuit
Could create.

Merciful necessity,
the citizens agreed
to wrap them
In scaffold, planks,
and signs clearly marked:
Refurbishing.

Burning, burning, burning.
God help me, I cannot burn!

The Falcon raised the stones
of Salisbury by art magical
and built the ship yards,
and the castle.
Men call him
The Devil’s son.

Now, for a few infested sheep,
or a worm within the brain,
the megaliths are ringed
With hay and signs
(strange designs),
and certain warding
Chemicals.

Burning, burning, burning.
God help me, I cannot burn!

There is a fire in the eye
That catches on the blade
And peaked hats like
Church steeples rise
Amidst the iron glade.

The daughters all lie bleeding,
By the children that they loved
And stopped the bullet with
The breast
As did those mothers
Long ago
Who fell amidst the fire light
and snow.

Burning, burning, burning.
God help me, I cannot burn!

Surely, our forefathers were wandering Aramaeans,
But they ate manna in the wilderness and saw the works of God.

When all this is washed away
The River will keep flowing
Wei la lei
And the daughters of the River
Sing:

Be mindful of these bones
Be mindful of these bones
Wash them
Cradle them
Lay them in the earth
Till they lie
As thick as glacial rock
In the twinkling of an eye
They will be changed

I walked there among the graves at night,
Disconsolate
And felt them all about me,
Strangers, friends
And the somber father laid
His arm about my shoulder
And the weak maid placed a
hand upon my arm
About my legs, a cloud of
Little fingers pressed
And all whispered:

Courage sir!  For today we light a fire that will not soon be put out.

And all their faces were:

Burning, burning, burning.
God help me, I cannot burn!

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