Doctrine (poem)

Oil painting gold and cerise background five faces






They said there was a sage and revered man

Who for his vows spoke never, but did chant

The psalms, his mien aloft of earthly cares

And soul among the blessed…this was known

A bird of fields, he, counted it a break with God

A deeper thing than ordinary sin

To have taken thought for his next meal


When in the villages illness came or famine

Ah, then did they beseech his prayers and oft

Were there any crust of bread to share

Bade him be sated, his sainted lips, their cup

A living mystic’s relic borne in awe

To the sick-bed, whence his miracles gained fame


They said his arm-bone measured a golden mean

That, for the sake of sanctity, it came to be

That of the abbey dedicated to his name

Each block was hewn, fit flush to this same length

They said that war, when veiled anciennes

Alone still told the ordered words of orison

And fasted Wednesdays, lest the deity forsake them

War machines, made by men whose gods were other men

Had crushed and set aflame the charted layerings


It was no more the faithful had been asked

Than trust of Will, in webs of the Divine

This math, of a greater power’s design

In symmetry and intricate

Bloom on bloom

Feather on feather

Wave on wave

All puzzle-cut in plainest sight before our eyes

The hermit’s holy measure moved to garden walls

And street pavers





Oil painting expressionistic pollarded willowsHacked Back
The Dispensing
















(2019, Stephanie Foster)




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