Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

Poetry

Intercession

Winter dawn pinks even this dirty air,
here where the currents of the world
stall between mountain ranges.
We awaken inhaling fumes and dust,
the calls of crows, breath and prayers
from around the globe.

A child in church, I knelt with
the congregation, leaned into the wails
of women around me pleading for the son
lost to Chicago, for Hiroshimo’s victims,
the girl with the iron lung. They would
begin on a pitch around middle C
and slowly rise with arched phrases
into a high tremolo toward the amen,
as though reaching to heaven.

Now the sun tears
the gray veil, and doves repeat
their soft, low moaning, for heaven
is nearer than we think—in the undersides
of leaves and in their shine,
warmth on my shoulder, scent of bread.
Even in that sick, black night when a man
stood in the center of the lane, his arms
out, pleading for the headlights to come in,
as we stood beside him, now in a silent
heap, his boots flung off, as we
breathed “mercy,” as we breathed “help.”







Poetry

Bell

      Good Friday, 2004

Since time flies one way like an arrow,
the sugar can’t be stirred out of your oatmeal
and no matter how long the murderer sobs
on the median strip—sorry!—he can’t reverse
his swerve, cannot rescind his drink

before the crash. Like him, was Jesus heartsick
to find history’s not a zipper running both ways?
He who loved eternity—its roominess,
its reversibility—as he grew up, did he
have to learn he never could unsay a thing

he’d said? And yet today, like all Good Fridays,
He hangs on the cross again. On altars
he hangs. On necklaces. His death is like an x
that rides the wheels of time to come again
in ritual, that miniature eternity, that spring

re-sprung. Dear God, there in your big eternity,
remember that your hands and feet can never
be unscarred again. Hear these words spoken
by a body that suffers, by a tongue
that will stiffen soon and be gone.

Have mercy on us who love time.
May this prayer be a tire
that rolls over every inch of the way
to find You. May it be a bell
which can never be unrung.









Film

Trusting and believing

A pair of British imports explores faith of different kinds. Millions, directed by Danny Boyle from a script by Frank Cottrell Boyce, is by far the slicker of the two. It is chock-full of glitzy visual effects, something to be expected from the man who directed the kinetic drug film Trainspotting.
Poetry

Anniversary

Did the blessed mother note the measure of the moon?
Ancient church tradition says they came on the same day—
that Gabriel’s whispered “hail” shared Golgotha’s dark noon,
that her pain embraced perfection and who are we to say?

It was exquisite sorrow to have her melody become
counterpoint to her son’s words arduously spoken
that afternoon of agony; below she stood mute, numb,
to watch his body slowly punctured, torn and broken.

How did she ponder and how could her heart sustain
a moment of astonishment, an anniversary gloss,
now—forlorn as vinegar; bitter balm for pain.
But she would hold to his wine, hard-won from torture, loss,

his new wine of forgiveness, now soaking into sod;
trusting it could endow her to forgive even her God.





Film

Keanu to the rescue

Hell wants him, heaven won’t take him, earth needs him.” So proclaims the poster for Constantine. It sounds like an ad for a previous Keanu Reeves movie, the ridiculous Devil’s Advocate. Yet some of the same publicists who promoted Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ are promoting Constantine—and for similar reasons.