A Soul in Four Seasons

R.S. Mitchell

1.

Almost forty, I fear, is late for spring.
The path may flirt with periwinkle praise
and court a fair season’s flowering ways,
but what consolation do gardens bring?
Done are days when I grew firm and fast
and each new surging of burgeoning proved
my bounty of blossoming well behooved.
But the yield was barren, and promise passed.
Hack away these gnarled limbs, this blighted bole.
Wild, overgrown, corrupted—who would prune
such wretched wood as might be better hewn
or take the part of parts grown less than whole?
That a dead tree once bore fruit is true
but only, Vine of Life, when hung with you. [Read more…]

A Song for Caitlin

J.B. Toner

God’s earth is full of beauty, that I know;
   It scintillates and dances in my eyes,
   His laughter rolls and rings and multiplies,
And makes the turning vistas chime and glow—
But little peace it grants me, even so:
   I cannot cling to bright salvation’s prize;
   The Heaven-light that lights my way soon dies,
For want of faith (perhaps) through which to flow.
 And yet my world holds hope and purity;
   Our Lady’s Son redeemed the depths of Hell—
 And traces of her grace I still can see,
   Like sun-sparked droplets from a silver well:
 This medal round my neck which is, to me,
   Three strands of hair from my Galadriel.

[Read more…]

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.