Friday, October 19, 2012

Poem: A Legend of Usual Cruelties: infinity, redwoods, folly

Those are redwoods, to the left, massive, humbling redwoods.

Since the poem below was published in a review named after deft and learned genius, Katherine of Alexandria, may I inform you she is among those who chose Christianity over paganism (that being anything not Christian), thereby irking Maximus who called on heavyweight scholars and philosophers to argue her back to sanity. Tables were turned, as happens in tales of Christianity, and scholar after scholar & co. was convinced by Katherine's shining arguments to, themselves, convert. Things got iffy--mandatory for a saint in the making.

She lived and was martyred in the 4th Century. Like Saint Katherine College and Saint Katherine Review (which published "A Legend with Usual Cruelties") she is part of the Greek Orthodox tradition, in which she is celebrated for silencing the "arrogance of the ungodly." Oh how we need her now. 

Re: Saint Katherine Review. Scott Cairns is editor; Claire Bateman,  poetry editor; Kathleen Norris, prose editor; Caroline Langston Jarboe, fiction editor. Founded in 2011 at Saint Katherine College in oaky Encinitas, in California's subtly leafy southern portions.

 A Legend with Usual Cruelties

A thousand-year Redwood—
one ring encircling the other—
concentrically outdoing in circumference—
protecting—what grew before.
Dimensions beyond the obvious are
science, fiction, legend an adolescent will wrap her
mind around concentrically—
that there could be
replicas of her, unaware of her or wrapping
a parallel mind around a possibility of replication.
So legend replicates legend. Thus,
you are legend despite merely requisite
dimensions and flyaway hair with its layers
of disobedience and gleam.
You are a legend with usual cruelties.
You are a legend because one day you are kind
and don't laugh at Sarah Sarai saying
struggle could end if only.
You're a legend because you picked up a leaf,
a red leaf, and tried to figure, its spine now brittle like
your grandmother and thin but beautiful
how it grew on that tree and after a season
of impudent green, turned color,
like the sky will, every night, and
fluttered to brown hard earth.
They are talking of you even
now in a dimension transecting folly,
of your queasy appreciation of the gift.
So, beloved, you can sleep, and rest,
assured you inspire in more than one world.
Sarah Sarai. Saint Katherine Review, Volume 2, Number 2, 2012.

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