—after Kapouzos [ΝΙΚΟΣ ΚΑΠΟΥΖΟΣ]

Yes, sweet, and very sweet the darkness 
of the nave, and also very sweet 
the observant surround, these icons 
of our ancient fathers and our mothers, 
whose images have acquired a warm 
chiaroscuro from centuries 
of fragrant smoke—incense, beeswax wafting 
for centuries attended by seamless 
petition and praise. Such prayers as these 
yet fill the air with yet another 
palpable sweetness. 
                                    So often, the world 
appears wretched, choked by a broken, 
angry and willfully cruel people. 
So often, the world proves wretched indeed, 
and its darkness is bitter. How then 
to mitigate the assault waiting 
just beyond the narthex? How to carry 
at least some distance into the world 
this fragrance, this sweetness, these images?