Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

Poetry

". . . and our hearts are restless . . ."

Pontificating to the very last,
I speak my feeble voice to the void,
Caught by the lure Abba-Mater has cast.

Though wise ones shun a loud iconoclast,
Titanic times demand one must be heard,
Pontificating to the very last.

The time for kissing rings of power is past,
Emoluments I sought I now avoid,
Caught by the lure Abba-Mater has cast.

I am gill-caught, like Peter, in a net,
And I’ve betrayed, and wept, whimpering guilt,
And still pontificated to the last.

Jahweh has set sheer longing in the soul,
Nostalgia’s gravity, pure restlessness,
Dangling the lure Mater-Abba has cast.

The requiem the mighty Mozart sought
Is always there, not here; and for this while,
Pontificating to the very last,
I take the lure Mater-Abba has cast.









Film

Brideshead Revisited

Evelyn Waugh’s marvelous novel Brideshead Revisited begins as a coming-of-age story. At Oxford in the 1920s Charles Ryder crosses paths with the disarming, childlike aristocrat Sebastian Flyte; they become inseparable friends, and Charles is taken up by Sebastian’s family.
Poetry

Daredevil

Sunday afternoons, she rolled off her stockings
to cross beams girding my grandfather’s barn.
She was fifteen and longed for something in the dark
leafy boughs she couldn’t quite reach. Balancing
on a hand-hewn rafter was nothing more
than stepping out on a limb and the humid hour
held its breath, the twittering sparrows fell silent.
Dust shivered suspended as she passed through
shafts of light austere as a coronation. This
was before she coiled her braids under a covering
and took her place in a kitchen with its slick checkered
floor and the tick of a clock she had to rewind.
For one immortal summer, girders hung
taut as strings her steady feet could strum.
Poetry

Tattooists

Are these Christian tattooists
in the paper any stranger—Simon Stylites spent
a life standing on a stone pillar, sixty feet up—
did not come down for cramps or winter rain.

Could I survive the Sacred Heart with “Hail, Mary,
Full of Grace” across my arm, or
the crucifixion in three colors
against my sternum between my breasts.
Needles to skin over
soft tissue is less painful,
but flesh is grass and sags—
art lasts best close to bone.

No stranger than hair shirts,
hundreds of needles for hours, for days, even years,
to get the complete St. Michael on my shoulder to the writhing,
twisting dragon down my leg.
Or my whole life to get the Last Supper
with Stations of the Cross, and the proper text—
Jesus’ words in red—
covering every inch of skin, eyelids,
lips, nose, between fingers and toes,
while invisible capillaries
under the skin carry the images
molecule by molecule
into the living catacombs of bone.