Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Catholic Encyclopedia

Maureen Bloomfield (2005)

A saint doesn't have to do too much; the penitence
Is that he refrain: from drink, in Matt Talbot's case;
From sitting, in Peregrine's. Of meat, too, it is good
To be forsworn. Food, as a genre, is best let go of,
Like Catherine of Siena eschewing everything but pus.
Pleasure, ease, comfort, satiety—all profusions unbecoming
One devoted to privation, and attribute of spiritual progress,
Where the only indulgence is eternal and plenary,
Nothing to show for the here and now, except wounds:
Ulcers on legs wrapped tight, stigmata—every blight
Useful if it oozes and announces its value as a sign.
They must have got used to it, suffering.
It must have been lovely, like falling into feathers,
So why change states in heaven, where there is only surfeit,
The vulgarity of light, songs that make the parched
Soul swoon. As Gawain and the lady, chaste
Except in intention, sported in words, bolt upright,
Folded inside the closed canopy of an ornate bed.
A prohibition is as good as a vow; denial
In the rhetoric of excess is a claim.

1 comment:

dan1968 said...

from The Best American Poetry of 2005