On Rome

Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (Pius II)

Translated by Brett Foster

 

Entice me, Rome, to scrutinize your ruins,

in whose broken stones ancient glory shines.

But here your people chip venerable walls,

yielding pebbles. Unearthed, the marble falls.

Impious race, if thus you spend your years,

noble traces will not be witnessed here.

Brett Foster’s first book of poetry, The Garbage Eater, was published in 2011 by Triquarterly Books/Northwestern University Press, and a second, smaller collection, Fall Run Road, was awarded Finishing Line Press’s 2011 Open Chapbook Prize, and has just been released. His poems have appeared in Ascent, Books & Culture, Christianity & Literature, First Things, IMAGE, Literary Imagination, Poetry Daily, Raritan, Sewanee Theological Review, and Southwest Review, and in the anthology American Religious Poems (Library of America).

On the People’s Business

John C. Wright

I was passing through one of the poorer sections of the country, going toward the capital.

Travel was difficult. There was occasional rail service, and overloaded trains (their roofs overhung dangerously with half-naked children, calm-faced mothers bent beneath drooping bundles) clattered their smoky way through narrow cuts and under stunted bridges—but no buses were running. To go from one tattered train station to another, one walked or hitch-hiked. Despite the recent violence here, people with cars (Europeans, shop owners, or Party Members) nearly always stopped, and nearly always made a detour if you were in need. [Read more…]

Be Not Afraid

Mike Mangione

It’s a dirt road I come from
A storm from the past
Dust twirls in cyclone curls and lays me on the grass
As steady as a heart beat
As fleeting as a wave
I break crest on newborn shores of everlasting graves
I walk the seems of night and day amidst tears of all unknown
Please turn and face night fall because in the darkness light is shown [Read more…]

Landfall

Gabriel Olearnik

Great whale road
cobbled with broken boats
and thick rafts of white
The sailor’s shortened eyes
match the shortness of breath

Land. A sharpness and spread of eucalyptus on the lungs
Legs heavy on the rush home
Give me a hand of clean water
and the black-baked bread
Give me medicine
for a shipwrecked soul

Gabriel Olearnik studied medieval history at University College London. He is currently an attorney and practices corporate law.

Hamlet, reviewed

Gabriel Olearnik

Rzelenko Konstantin was the Prince of Denmark
his peace a parried extinction, clutching at a friend’s head and
whirling a sword stick into the line of the sea
the revolution of circles
two faces forerunning the hot foam
the bones burnished by the gentle rub of sand.
He ached. This choice between
consumptives and skulls.
Absurd. In this hissing hinterland
death by water.

Gabriel Olearnik studied medieval history at University College, London. He is currently an attorney and practices corporate law.

Widow’s Walk

Fiorella de Maria

Last night I dreamt I was with you again,
Walking under the dripping chestnut trees,
Singing an old song you taught me long ago.
“Long ago.” How foolish now, when time is nothing
More than the ticking of a clock in some forgotten corner.
It can only be a moment since we laughed and cried,
I never remember which — and you cradled my face.
I feel the touch of your fingers tracing invisible paths
Into my hair, feel the pressure of an unexpected kiss. [Read more…]

Enlightenment

Richard J. Rodriguez

Sed sicut scriptum est quod oculus non vidit nec auris audivit nec in cor hominis ascendit quae praeparavit Deus his qui diligunt illum.

- 1 Corinthians 2:9

Reveille, Reveille!
The heralds of eternal daylight
Flip off circuit breakers, flooding
Forth electric erudition, shocking
Suns into the skies, slinging
Melancholic moons beneath the earth:
Aeterna lux, clamantis vox,
A far cry ringing newly
Out across capacious plains. [Read more…]

Scattered Thundershowers this Afternoon

Robert MacArthur

The forecast didn’t call for principalities and powers.
In toppling heaps of alabaster balanced overhead
They hung, silently swelling, for apprehensive hours,
Filled full with holy water and rejuvenating dread.
Somebody called down judgment on the living and the dead
In faceless white serenity, the lurid hues washed out
Below, ice-prism halos above each thunderhead.
Let us set up a candlemas for when the power goes out. [Read more…]