By Thomas Page
When the sticky air boils, sweet showers
Pour down upon pilgrims making their way
Somewhere as honored as Canterbury
Looking for dissenting Thomases true
As the horns of bulls parading in Spain.
Every season turns as the graying clouds
Baptize the pavement in its odor clean
Of the pools they pull from—sower, reaper.
These are the times people look far beyond;
Far beyond the pigment in their own eyes
Into the painted reflections looking
Back at them agape—agapē—forever.
There are knights and monks and prioresses
Seeking deltas to the same sea flowing
With salvation without condemnation—
A bee’s honeycomb without the stinger—
And look for the stars’ ecstasies beaming
Visions of prismed heavens through marble
Dividing heaven from the earthen stock
Made in the seven days’ model down there
Where the light filters from the window panes.
The blacksmiths’ Sheol breathes brimstone for pilgrims;
The carpenters’ Calvary with the clung
Body whirls like the weathercock in wind;
The shepherd’s manger in the dead of night;
All spectacles for the weary, sore feet
Looking at the divine artificial—
The mysteries played across their faces
Painted with the elements and minerals
As old as the word spoken bespoken.
Some may see Paradise and try to grasp
It like a pearl encrusted in a gate
Only to feel the keystone surrounding
Its porous face tearing the flesh—thirty-
Nine—the tears of failure like the rains of
April pouring down on pilgrims heading
Out—the Kempes of the world—to find earthly
Treasures bestowed by the silvery clouds
With the directions as clear as the font
Dipped by the shell with its cleansing water
Guiding them to a city paved with gold.
A city gold is simply a city
Stone paved with the efforts of those
Living there to make it as close to that
Very place sought by the pilgrims journeying
To see how honor crowns someone in pearls
Like stars sewing the heavens together.