Roman Diptych

Stephen Milne

1. Domus Livia

Sic transit gloria mundi

On the white walls of the Palatine
Livia in her blue dress
wakes to the fluted birds

Lizards like emerald blades
laze in the fluttering sun [Read more…]

Mesquite

Kate Bluett
The mesquite is not a tree
although it can be climbed.
There was one on the playground,
and the pretty girls claimed it for their own.
They laughed among its leaves of lace
while we less-favored
sweated in the sun. [Read more...]

leaving and livening

Eric Kingsepp

take the spring
take outward things
showing off their new-found greens

take the summer
heat and sun
overgarbed in light-streaked clouds

a pretty maid, but growing still
with much potential left to fill [Read more…]

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…]

Roads Walked and Barred

David Landrum

1.

I pray for him each morning.
Denied a place where my virginity
could flourish, I became obedient
to a husband who joked on our wedding night 
how I had narrowly escaped 
having my pretty little thing
locked up where no one could enjoy it. [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).