Life of Christ
Few people knew
That this would be:
He changed the course
Life of Christ
Few people knew
That this would be:
He changed the course
Ratifying the Constitution did
Inspire a Grand Procession in the Honor of
Ratification, “The most interesting
Scene,” wrote the Journal, “in this world’s part ever
Exhibited,” for every Citizen
Who wished to live beneath a Government
Capable to protect his person and
His property, united with the Farmers,
The Merchants and Mechanics, to create
This morning scene at nine: Three thousand people
Gathered on Philpot’s Hill, directed by
Plunket and Moore, both captains: Seven guns
From Major Smith’s and Captain Furnival’s
Park of Artillery, to which Huzzahs
(Three in all) signaled the Procession had
Begun, and the whole line moved to Fells’-Point
And from there through the Town’s main Streets amidst
The Acclamations of a Number of
Spectators (“a prodigious number”) to
Federal-Hill, where they were greeted by
A Seven-Gun Salute, and they partook
Of Entertainment brought forth for the Purpose.
They sat down at a Table (circular,
Three thousand and six hundred feet, with Standards
And the Devices of their Orders, which
Were flown as usual and showed the Town
And shipping in the Harbour what looked like
A brilliant camp, and the Repast was set
Out gracefully, with local food alone.
With Mr. Peters’ first-rate Ale, they closed
With Thirteen Toasts and were accompanied
By Thirteen federal discharges. Toasts
Were to the People’s Majesty, the late
Convention, Congress, Seven States which had
Adopted the Federal Constitution,
A speedy Ratification by those
Remaining six, without Amendments, to
George Washington (Toast number six), to His
Most Christian Majesty and other Allies,
The Maryland Convention’s virtuous
Sixty-three, and Toast number nine was to
The Agriculture, Manufactories
And Commerce of America, while ten:
The Memory of those who had
Fallen while in America’s defense.
Number eleven: Massachusetts’ worthy
Minority; that in each Quarter of
The Globe the flag of America be
Respected, and as Number Thirteen Toast:
Continuance of unanimity
Among inhabitants of Baltimore-
Town; and, the Business of the Day complete,
The different classes of the Citizens
Returned in separate Divisions to
Their proper Stations and continued their
Celebrations in many rational
And lofty Pleasures ‘til each heart was full.
See “A Grand Procession in Baltimore from the Debate on the Constitution,” Part 2, The Library of America, compiled by Bernard Bail
(Unlike some citizens today, the citizens in Baltimore were overjoyed to have a Constitution.)
1 Prophet Elisha called a man out from
The company of prophets and told him,
This: “Tuck your cloak into your belt, and take
This flask of olive oil with you and go
To Ramoth Gilead. 2 When you arrive,
Find the son of Jehoshaphat, the son
Of Nimshi, namely, Jehu. Go to him,
Get him away from his companions and
Take him inside an inner room, 3 then take
The flask and pour the oil upon his head
And say, ‘The LORD says: “I anoint you king
Of Israel.”‘ Then open up the door
And run; do not delay!” 4 So the young prophet
Went up to Ramoth Gilead. 5 When he
Arrived, he found the army officers
Sitting together. “I have brought a message
For you, commander,” he said. “For which one
Of us?” asked Jehu. He replied, “For you,
Commander.” 6 Jehu got up and went in
The house. The prophet poured the oil upon
The head of Jehu and declared, “The LORD,
The God of Israel, says: ‘I anoint
You king of the LORD’s people Israel.
7 You shall destroy the house of Ahab your
Own master, and I will avenge the blood
Of prophets, my own servants, and the blood
Of the LORD’s servants shed by Jezebel.
8 The entire house of Ahab will collapse.
I will cut off from Ahab each last male
In Israel: The slaves and freemen. 9 I
Will make the house of Ahab like the house
Of Jeroboam son of Nebat, like
The house of Baasha, Ahijah’s son,
10 And as for Jezebel, the dogs will lick
Her bones upon the plot of ground at Jezreel,
And nobody will bury her,'” then he
Opened the door and ran; 11 when Jehu went
Out to his fellow officers, one asked
Jehu, “Are you all right? Why did this nut
Come in to you?” “You know the man, the sort
Of things he says,” said Jehu. 12 “That’s not true!”
They said. “Tell us,” and Jehu said, “Here’s what
He said: ‘The LORD says: “I anoint you king
Of Israel.”‘” 13 They quickly took their cloaks
And spread them under him on the bare steps.
They blew the trumpet then and shouted, “Jehu
Is king!” 14 So the son of Jehoshaphat,
The son of Nimshi, Jehu, did conspire
Towards Joram. (Joram and all Israel
Had been defending Ramoth Gilead
From Hazael the king of Aram, 15 but
King Joram had come back to Jezreel to
Recover from the wounds the Arameans
Had given him in battle with Hazael
The king of Aram.) Jehu said, “If you
Desire to make me king, do not permit
Anybody to slip out of the city
To go and tell the news in Jezreel,” 16 then
He mounted his own chariot and rode
To Jezreel, for there Joram rested and
Ahaziah the king of Judah had
Gone down to see him; 17 when the lookout standing
On Jezreel’s tower saw Jehu’s troops approach,
He called, “Some troops are coming.” “Get a horseman,”
Joram commanded. “Send him out to meet
Them and ask, ‘Do you come in peace?'”
18 The horseman
Rode to meet Jehu and he said, “The king
Says: ‘Do you come in peace?'” “What do you have
To do with peace?” said Jehu. “Fall in line
Behind me,” and the lookout notified
The town, “The messenger has reached them, but
He isn’t coming back,” 19 and so the king
Sent out a second horseman. When he came
To them he said, “The king says: ‘Do you come
In peace?'” And Jehu said, “What do you have
To do with peace? Fall in behind me,” 20 and
The lookout called, “He’s reached them, but he’s not
Returning either, and the driving is
Like that of Jehu, Nimshi’s son’ and he
Drives like a nut.” 21 “Hitch up my chariot,”
Joram commanded, and when it was hitched
Up, Joram king of Israel and Judah’s
King Ahaziah rode out, each in his
Own chariot, to meet with Jehu. They
Met him right at the plot of ground that Naboth
The Jezreelite had owned; 22 when Joram saw
Jehu he asked him, “Have you come in peace,
Jehu?” And Jehu answered, “How can there
Be peace,” said Jehu, “while idolatry
And witchcraft of your mother Jezebel
Abound?” 23 And Joram turned about and fled
And called out, “Ahaziah, treachery!”
24 Then Jehu drew his bow and he shot Joram
Between the shoulders, and the arrow pierced
His heart—he slumped down in his chariot;
25 To Bidkar, officer of chariots,
Jehu said, “Pick him up and throw him on
The field the Jezreelite named Naboth owned.
Recall how you and I did ride together
In chariots behind his father Ahab
When the LORD spoke this prophecy against
Him: 26 ‘Yesterday I saw the blood of Naboth
And his sons’ blood, declares the LORD, and I
Will surely make you pay for it upon
This plot of ground, declares the LORD.’ Now then,
Go pick him up and throw him on that plot,
According to the word of God.” 27 Now when
Ahaziah the king of Judah saw
What had occurred, he fled along the road
Up to Beth Haggan; Jehu chased him, shouting,
“Kill him too!” And they wounded him inside
His chariot along the way to Gur
Near Ibleam, but he escaped and fled
To Megiddo, where he died. 28 Servants took
Him to Jerusalem by chariot
And buried him with his own ancestors
Inside his tomb in David’s City. 29 (Now in year
Eleven of the son of Ahab, Joram,
Ahaziah became the king of Judah.)
30 Then Jehu went to Jezreel. Jezebel
Heard of it and put on eye makeup, and
Arranged her hair and looked out of a window.
31 As Jehu came in through the gate, she asked,
“You Zimri, you murderer of your master,
Have you come here in peace?” 32 He looked up at
The window and called, “Who’s on my side? Who?”
Two or three eunuchs looked down at him. 33 Jehu
Said, “Throw her down!” They threw her down, and some
Of her blood spattered on the wall and horses
As they did trample her beneath their hooves.
34 Jehu went in and ate and drank. “Take care
Of that bedeviled woman,” he said, “and
Go bury her, for she was a king’s daughter,”
35 But when they went to bury her, they found
Nothing except her skull, her feet and hands.
36 They went back and told Jehu, who said, “Through
Tishbite Elijah, God’s own servant, God
Spoke this word: On the plot of ground at Jezreel
The dogs will eat the flesh of Jezebel.
37 Jezebel’s body will become like dung
On ground in Jezreel’s plot, so none who dwell
In this place can say, ‘This is Jezebel.’”
A person who believes that Jesus Christ
Is Lord and Savior of the World is called
A saint through faith, the substance of the things
Hoped for, the evidence of things not seen;
And in the Catholic Church some souls are known
As saints and doctors by the grace of God.
The blessed Catherine of Siena, born
A twin upon Annunciation Day,
The last of thirteen children who survived,
Professed her love for God through holiness
When wars and plagues had shaken faith and hope
In city-states of Tuscany where walls
Protected citizens from outside harm.
Her father’s trade was dyeing wool; his wife,
Madonna Lapa, ruled the family.
This daughter destined to direct the Popes,
Young Caterina Benincasa, taught
Herself to say the Angelus at five,
And knelt upon the steps of stairs at home
To say an Ave Maria, step by step.
When she was six years old, she looked across
Valle Piatta to the abbey church
Of San Domenico; above its roof
She saw the Savior of the World, who sat
In bishop’s robes upon a royal throne,
The treble Papal crown upon His head.
Beside the Lord were Peter, Paul and John,
And Jesus raised His hand and blessed the girl,
Who stood enraptured while the love of God
Abounded in her soul, a cup that gushed.
Her brother called to her; she did not move.
He had to take her arm to make her wake
As though from sleep, transformed forevermore.
She swam beneath the water in the sea
Of love, and vowed when seven she would be
The bride of Christ, and of no other man,
A virgin pure in body and in soul.
In times alone with God she learned to build
An inner cell within her soul which she
Would never leave, despite temptation’s pull
And the entreaties from her family,
Who wanted to arrange a groom for her.
Forced to divulge her vow of chastity,
She told her parents that her will was fixed:
“It would be easier to melt a stone
Than tear this resolution from my heart.
I must obey the Lord before all men;
My Bridegroom is so rich that He will give
Me all I need, if you should throw me out.”
The twelve-year-old prevailed; no more would they
Attempt to wed her to a mortal man,
Although she lived beneath her parents’ roof
Another seven years, her room a cell
Beside the landing, ten by sixteen feet.
O Catherine, if I had one-tenth your zeal,
What miracles could God perform through me,
What battles could He win for souls of men!
The revelation of the Trinity
Was hers through meditation, solitude,
And the denial of her self: three times
A day she scourged her body with a chain
Of iron: once for her own sins, once more
For sins of every living soul, and once
For souls in purgatory, giving Christ,
Her Lord and Savior, blood for blood, ‘til blood
Ran down her shoulders in her sacred cell.
Within her parents’ house where she would sleep
For half an hour on every other day
On planks of wood when she was not in prayer.
The holy teen’s devout desire to join
An order of St. Dominic was quenched
At last when she received the robe and veil,
In white to symbolize her purity,
And the black cape, in black as sign of death
Unto this world and of humility.
Eternal blessedness is knowing God,
God as He is; thus she renounced the world,
That which is vanishing, for unity
With Him who suffered on the cross of love.
She gave belongings to the poor, and cared
For sickest of the sick in darkest hours,
Even when stinking wounds made others leave,
And patients shouted blasphemies at her.
Companions said that when she prayed, she rose
Above the floor so high that one could place
A hand between the woman and the floor;
When she received the Body of the Lord,
She would withdraw in ecstasy, as stiff
And as insensible as Lazarus
Four days inside the cave before the Lord
Commanded him to rise and leave the tomb.
When Catherine’s soul was lifted to commune
With Love Incarnate, she could not perceive
A needle in her foot, and passersby
Who doubted her sincerity would kick
The girl who lay insensate in the street.
At twenty-two she ate no solid food,
And for long times the Eucharist alone
Provided nourishment for her who drank,
In mystic flights, from Jesus’ wounded side.
Christ let her see His secrets, and equipped
Her with the gifts of grace to call her forth,
His weapon in the battle for men’s souls.
One story of a multitude is all
I have the space to tell of how she saved
The souls of men through visions and her prayers.
One winter day two wagons took two men,
Condemned to suffer torture and then death,
Around the town as executioners
Used red-hot tongs to tear and burn their flesh.
The robbers, chained to stakes, reviled the Lord
As townsmen shook and shuddered in alarm;
But Catherine of Siena, who had seen
The wagons pass, retired to beg in prayer
For Christ to save the wretches’ souls, as He
Had saved the robber crucified by Him.
The wagons drove up to a city gate,
The Porta della Giustitia,
And there beneath the arch stood Christ, who wore
A crown of thorns and bled from head to toe.
Caught up in Spirit, Catherine saw the Lord;
The robbers saw Him too, and when He saw
Their eyes and hearts, defiance broke in them.
These highwaymen called for a priest, confessed
Their sins, sang hymns, and met their deaths content.
The very moment that they died redeemed,
The praying virgin woke from ecstasy,
For love of God and mankind for His sake
Was all the mystic knew worth living for.
The exile of the Popes to Avignon
(Franciscans called it Babylonia,
And hung their harps on poplars as they wept)
Disrupted Rome, corrupted faith, and left
Believers rudderless and insecure.
The Roman churches lay in ruins, priests
Had morals of degenerates, and law
Was lost as factions fought and clutched for power.
God sent as punishment the plague, Black Death,
Which killed one-half of Europe’s populace.
In thirteen-fifty St. Birgitta, a seer
From Sweden, heard the call to cleanse the Church.
She went to Rome and urged the Pope to leave
His capital in Avignon, lest he
Should suffer wrath from God–but he refused.
As John the Baptist heralded the work
And ministry of Christ, Birgitta ran
Before the mystic saint who wrought success,
The Pope’s return to Rome from Avignon,
For Catherine told Pope Gregory that he
Had made a vow when Cardinal to move
To Rome if ever he became the Pope,
A vow which he had never told a soul.
At thirty-three, the age her Bridegroom died,
Suffering, paralyzed below the waist,
As she lay on her bed of wooden boards,
The purest dove accused herself of sins,
And cried aloud, “My honor! Never! Praise
And honor to Christ crucified alone!”
In April thirteen-eighty Catherine gave
Her spirit to the Father’s hands.
In spring a million buds appear on trees;
In winter snowflakes fall from clouds, each one
Unique in pattern, each a gift to earth,
And as each bud and snowflake offers gifts
That come from it alone, so every child
Who’s born again of God, among the millions, bears
And offers special gifts, the gifts of grace
And mercy to the Lord and humankind.
This daughter of a wealthy family
Used special gifts to lead and move the Popes
And men of lower rank to follow God.
Greater than special gifts that Catherine had
Through her ascetic life and ministry
Was intimacy she possessed with Christ;
She loved the Lord with heart and soul and strength,
And fixed her eyes on Jesus’ wounds; she knew
None are redeemed without the blood of Christ.
She served her Bridegroom, clove right by His side,
Surrendered self with zeal, and gave up pride
As she renounced the world to be His bride.
From Virginia Street and Other Poems
and Three Saints, Two Villains
“The thirteenth floor? Most hotels don’t have one,”
Said Sargent Saturday. “The balcony–
What was she doing there at two a.m.?”
“The brand new husband says she couldn’t sleep.
Says he had no idea why she leaped.”
“She is–was–a Carducci? I know them.
Good folks. The old man won the lottery.
His wife died and he put a loaded gun–”
“I know the rest,” Detective Rogers said.
“They found his brains all over Noland’s farm.”
“That leaves one heir, with three Carduccis dead.”
“He can’t explain the scratches on his arm,
Torn shirt and pants, or why his head has bumps.”
“Honeymoon’s over. Go pick up the chump.”
“Fourteen stab wounds and he claimed self-defense?”
“A cornered man will make a wild excuse.”
“Does he think cops are ignorant and dense?”
“That I won’t answer. He has been abused.”
“A deadbeat. He was behind ten months’ rents.”
“But how much must a two-bit loser lose?
He said that he was thrown against a fence.”
“You won’t know left from right, drink that much booze.”
“Detective says he has another lead.”
“I can’t believe they haven’t closed the case.”
“The obvious can cover something new.”
“The wounds don’t match his knife. Who did the deed?”
“They caught a kid downtown, the Bloody Ace.
His knife matched.”
“Things people say and do.”
Sonnet 22 (1 of 2)
The Palace’s detective followed me
Into the bathroom. The corpse was sprawled,
Elbows akimbo. Now my wife was free
To strum a harp in clouds, for God had called
Her home, but the detective could not see
His way to let me go. He stammered, stalked
And stood above my wife, her dignity
In death of no concern to him. He balked
When I suggested that the coroner
Could check for anything on her amiss.
“You can’t explain the bruise upon her skull,”
He said. “Your alibi is like a burr
That scratches. It don’t check out. I insist
You come with me.” I swung, my anger full.
Sonnet 23 (2 of 2)
Blood sprayed the mirror like Pollock’s paint.
I kneed his crotch, he went down, I took
His gun and pointed it. The man looked faint.
“She’s happy now, in heaven like a saint.
I wouldn’t go to church with her. Her Book,
The only book she read, told her to look
To Jesus for deliverance. No taint
On her. She’ll find a smarmy cozy nook
And she’ll be happy evermore.” “What for?
He asked me, as his pistol grazed his chin.
“You’ll never get away–” I slammed his head
Against a pipe, and he was out. I’ll soar
On wings for my good deed. I made her win
Escape from sin. She can’t sin, for she’s dead.
I’m in the kitchen with Detective Joe
Who wants a statement from my brother’s mate,
But she won’t talk to him or me no more.
“Why?” Joe asks me. “Because she tempted Fate.
He slit her throat, that’s why.” The apple core
He held, he turned and threw beside the gate.
“Can’t no one tell me nothin’? I am sore!”
“How do you think she felt? It’s gettin’ late.
Why don’t you take your copmobile and slide
On out of here?” “I’ll have to take him in.”
“I am my brother’s keeper,” I remarked.
Rain falls for forty days. The flood is wide.
Water rising–I’m drowning in my sin.
My brother smiles and steps inside his ark.
The Land of Never
Have you ever been so clever You visited the Land of Never? “Never will I eat the foods that make me fat, Never will I say those awful words Like Heckedy Schmekedy drat,” Or in a moment of practiced pique When your bottom’s fallen in the creek: “Never ever will I do that again, No horse could drag me through that glen,” Or when your friend and you have a falling out, A spat where you cross your arms and shout, “That’s it, never will I be your friend! Never! Never! Never! The End!” . . . But it’s not the end, now is it? You’ll eat the pie despite the pounds and zits, You’ll say some awful things Because they have a righteous ring, You’ll take that trip to somewhere far away, Smiling as you wipe off spray, You’ll call your friends And make amends, You’ll say, “Did I say ‛Never’”? For me that’s far too clever. Let’s take a walk Around the block, Pluck a dandelion on the fly, Pick out Orion in the sky. Whatever we may endeavor Let’s steer clear Of the Land of Never.” ~Day Williams
Genius… is the capacity to see ten things where the ordinary man sees one. -Ezra Pound
— Famous Quotes (@_Famouss_Quotes) August 7, 2016
God said to fill the earth and take dominion
Over it, so men harnessed nature’s laws
With floating farms and coffee-powered cars,
The hoverboards and mines on asteroids,
Easy tattoo removal from the skin,
Transhuman tech, space kites, robots that draw,
Weather control and terraforming Mars,
Dyson spheres, penicillin, cyborgs, androids:
Man takes dominion over every breath,
Advances medicine to fight death’s grin,
Strengthens the people, healthier each day;
But no device can soften man’s hard heart.
Man can extend a life but can’t crush death
To bits, because no tool can wipe out sin,
As only Jesus’ blood takes sin away:
Man’s saved when he submits to God’s great art.
The upper room,
The cross’s gloom,
His heart has stopped,
The empty tomb,
He’s risen up.
A holy man
Who’s great and good
Can lead a land
–Day Williams, from Virginia Street and Other Poems