A Sonnet For Chagall

 

 

Sonnet for Chagall

These mine eyes are the windows of my soul,

where you may think inside of me you look,

therein reading me as an open book,

in gazing outward lies my own true role.

 

Let me instead show you what then I see

when brushing clear old glass, old dust, old grime,

peering closely through layers left by time,

my village returns in pale broken light to me.

 

The splintered glass gives splintered view,

kaleidoscopic beasts both large and small

loom close, they share our lives with them

as crosses do, not one so high, but two,

side by side houses stand while people call,

splintered self remembering again.

 

note: all images used in this are in the public domain

A Suite of Songs for Saint Brigid, February 2013 A.D.

I

A long time had passed.  When asked

the King could only thus reply,

“Brigid?  Oh yes!  I knew her well.

She was, she was, let me tell you,

some woman.  Oh yes, some woman!”

He thought again, remembering.

“When she asked, I promised.

‘The ground beneath my cloak’, she said.

Her cloak that grew to the grazing

of even twice two hundred cows!”

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II

The folk of whom I am bred

of her still say

as always they said

This is her well

on her Holy Day

we drink

This is the bush

where she knelt

to pray

Here we hang cloths of red

that the young may return

whence they have fled

These are dark green rushes

we gather together

 from wet wasteful lands

These we weave in the shape

of her cross

with prayerful hands

Over the door they hang

that safe from fire

our house may last

Outside over the byre

they protect the beasts

from sickness and harm

Always and ever, above the rest

we will seek

we will take

waters of the well

that she has blessed.

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III

Born of slaves, yet blessed at birth,

in turn she blessed so many,

always seeing their inner worth.

Babies, young infants, the troubled

children from suffering homes,

for these her prayers were doubled.

Blacksmiths, mariners, fugitives,

chicken farmers, dairy workers,

to all these her prayer she gives.

Workers at our printing presses,

along with midwives and dairy maids

are but some she daily blesses.

Boatmen, watermen, travellers

as they go their various ways,

these she protects, they too are hers.

For scholars turning learned books,

for poets she had such loving time,

her hands hold the hands of my friends,

and when moved to write, of mine.

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