Yesterday, a friend and I got on the subject of poetry and agreed to exchange some poems we had written. As I was compiling the best (or least embarrassing) of them to send off this afternoon, I unearthed a poem I’d begun writing months ago, after the last time I watched The Robe. And, seeing as I liked it better than any others I’d written, and it deserved an ending, I managed to finish it (finally!) and thought, while I was at it, I might share it here just for fun. I think it fits pretty well with the theme of my blog and my fascination with martyrs. . .so here it is. Hope you enjoy!
The Marriage of Diana
She sits enthroned upon a precipice,
A lion at her side,
Her virgin robe immaculate and bright,
Her spine is straight, her fingers, hidden, clutch
The ledge with knuckles light.
A pillar, fair Patrician, marble-white,
Only with trembling eyes.
They watch the cohort drag her lover forth,
They watch the bloody lion lick its fangs.
Her tribune stalwart marches in their midst,
A red cloth on his arm.
He bears his robe, a massive battle shield,
With shoulders straight and silent eyes; oh, how
The universe should yield
Before the burning shafts his eyes can wield!
Oh, sweet and bitter wound
His gaze inflicts upon her loyal heart.
His gaze like arrows drains her breath away.
The ravening lion rises from its lair,
A scepter in its paw.
Its silk robe shrouds Marcellus from her sight,
Blood trimmed with gold cascading to the floor,
A farce of noble might,
It cannot shroud this Caesar’s gleeful spite.
She burns she called it king.
Its growls strike anguished dread inside her breast;
Its growls move not a curl of his fair head.
Ita vero, his voice her soul ignites,
A trumpet in his throat.
Ego sum Christiana, gentle boast.
The lion and its parasites exult,
A cruel, triumphant host.
Marcellus’ eyes, the sparkling Capri coast,
Lose nothing of their flame.
Christus Rex meus, burns his charity,
Christus Rex meus, more than death I owe.
I long to have a faith as great as thine,
A plea of agony,
Her voice had begged, its tone in bitter strain
As her life’s dream choked in the prison air.
What could thy dying gain?
If thou dost die, I will believe it vain.
Her heart faints now to think
They were the words she left him with to die
They were words of a love no longer love.
The laureled lion circles round its prey,
A blackness in its gaze
It hesitates when Christ’s robe it espies,
And reaches out to strip the shield away,
When fear constricts its eyes.
With frightful growls it bounds away and cries
Destroy this fell witchcraft!
Diana’s heart sends fire through all her bones;
Diana’s heart flings her onto the ledge.
Give it to me! she cries before all Rome,
A tremor in her voice.
As her dear tribune the red cloth extends,
The Festal wedding robe that holds her dream
Her eyes behold therein.
Its crimson glory warm against her skin,
Love kindles in her breast.
A priceless thing she holds, their new King’s robe;
A priceless flame consumes what was their love.
Merciful I will be, the lion taunts,
A putrid clemency,
Its purring tones her cringing ears offend.
If thou wilt kneel to me and pay thy vows.
The heart in her breast rends
In petrifying fear as his knee bends.
No fear has equaled this;
To watch his flame vanish to nothingness;
To have his flame—all else would now be vain.
Deny this Christ and I shall let thee live.
A gust of ocean wind
Relieves her breast as her dear tribune stands.
His kingdom is not threatened by thy might;
Love is His one demand.
The throne you claim He shall one day command.
The crowd’s enraged Mortem!
Neither he nor his noble lady hear.
Neither lover heeds now the fading world.
He is my chosen husband, and with him,
A bride’s adamant vow,
Into my new Lord’s kingdom I shall go.
The lion’s fury touches not her soul.
Marcellus’ blue eyes glow
As they bear love away to the arrow.
Her wedding robe she holds
As hand-in-hand they go to offer it,
Hand-in-hand, a small gift to give their King.