Tuesday, April 3, 2012

sister mary appassionata lectures the eighth grade boys and girls on the nature of the candle: david citino

There are many instances during the Middle Ages of persons having a candle made, as a special devotion, of the same height or the same weight as themselves.
                 -Curiosities of Popular Customs

It stands to reason. Wax crafted by bees,
tallow of vegetable or beast rendered just hard enough
to stand, to support the flame that dances
dangerously before the slightest breath, wick

running the body's length, spinal cord
that makes all parts a whole, intelligence
warming whatever comes near, touch of love,
to dispel the sentence of night after night,
only need to be, but eating a hole
in the center, faith consuming flesh from the inside,
running toward the heart, a fuse,
utter dark biding its time under the tongue,
inside each tooth and bone, life drowning
in the rising tide of life, deadly depth
of every day, price we're made to pay
for our season of light, last breath
a hiss or sigh as sun floods windows
to bear the soul away, what's left of us lying
gutted, guttered, cold, scents
of our brief wisdom lingering in the room

Citino, David. "Sister Mary Appassionata Lectures the Eighth Grade Boys and Girls on the Nature of the Candle" Upholding Mystery: An Anthology of Contemporary Christian Poetry. David Impastato, Ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. 38-39.