The Red Priest

Gabriel Olearnik

“…and Vivaldi was known as il Prete Rosso, on account of his hair, a familial trait…”


I cannot always write
but while the blood runs fast and fleet
I cough the ruin from my lungs
and turn my pale hands to work

I scrawl the clustered notes like flowers
and from them, as if from reverie
fly the bees:
humming, buzzing
all disturbed
to settle and subside
and carry the nectar of sweet noise
to the hidden hive of hearts.


We cannot always live in crescendo
these wax dripped notes
and the high of breviary sung
must resolve to harmony and absence
the tenor creak of timber and
the glass and peak of highest sound
must fade to splinters
upon a brilliant sea.


The mead sea refulgent in the sun
into it my blood has run
to ferment the words
which blind and glisten
of honey and of smoke