Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Poem: Francine Sterle: "Making a Cross." The cross as archetype.

I have no trouble understanding why or that some people, many people, don't like crosses. Because: history. But the form, the outline looks archetypal to me, an ancient shape, primitive in that primitive can be pure; an embrace. A form that predates history or lives in spite of history, as archetypes do. And that's what came to mind when I happened on this lovely poem by Francine Sterle. Her collection housing this poem is reviewed in Boston Review.

Making a Cross

Of 385 varieties, to make the simplest
all you need are two sticks:
one vertical; the other, horizontal.
Call one time; one, space or
life—death, good—evil, male—female.
You choose. Any polarity will do
as long as the cross-piece cuts across
the one upright. Now, it's a human form
with arms outstretched. Rub them together.
A couple of sparks, a few more,
a flash of light, a slow increase in heat,
and radiating around you: uncontainable fire. 
Francine Sterle. From Every Bird is One Bird (Tupelo Press).
Copyright 2001 by Francine Sterle.

Photo of used, abandoned crosses in London is from Carol Gallagher's blog, Mama Bishop