After and During the Fall of St. Elmo

by James Farrugia

Dedicated to the Forgotten Knights&Maltese, 1565

And in the loose dark about St.Elmo’s fire,
rowing through the air the ball-chain thunder
onto many sails of ciliced blood, the sinewy
waves lurking under heavy limed stone;
there came through the chain-mailed summer
the last spears of sun into the green vines;
vine of lightning green, paths through mosses
till they made the sloping sloth of the sea-jade
dark at night, lit by the artificial fires of robed
ghosts culling pumice from their roaring shots,
and the dayward trough spiked in cursing
crickets feeding on the one clean tablet, stoned
by the truant dusk that spurned the chest
of hot-oiled fleeces; the summers dirged
throughout the middle sea of the earth, flames
corked the altar grapes from exploding in
the mouth: only through blood did it mount
faces with the weary alcohol of faint troubles,
bronze gliding through the harbor air, severed
from its own mouth riddled with blaze;
some strong Samson called through the horns
and flung the chains in the exploding port.
And who sat, who bled who wept or went mad
through the iron electricity of the shields’
wielding; who crept who wed, who faked or who
knelt down with the white stone, a transfiguration
that only sonneteers can make benign; and then
the Watcher with the face of grapes and the tongue-
old vine, carved patiently in His bower of fault.
Limitless the pagan mass of fruits and flowers
sent-off; green orbs watch us now behind ghosts.

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Filed under Issue 3, Poetry

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