basilique notre-dame de fourviére

“All rivers move at once.”

whose brutal hands are these upon the bow
whose gaunt eye sees what mortal eyes cannot
whose cruel lips betray love with a kiss

seal the four feathers to the arrow shaft
i the puissant sword in its sheath of stone

carving the radiant hart of darkness
sublime laughter painting sweet rivers green
fiercer sorrow staining salty seas blue

whose womb the cell within which all stars scream
whose lyon thirst first broke the dark crystal
whose finger on the diapason key

shatters bliss with agonizing music
your arms towers in which mystery dreams

a shabby fortress for cupidity
the cathedral merely a chrysalis
emergent lust wanting integrity

whose inordinate flame chars our fickle harts
whose enigma makes all things convergent
whose love is yet more than its mortal parts

these invisible hands tune those hart strings
threading nooses dangling from hanging trees

love not lacking reconciliation
a pyramid not yet but still complete
a rose favoring discrimination

whose compassion forges the golden path
whose thorny vine climbs the hidden mountain
whose mortal love kindles endless desire

conceals wonder in ecstatic silence
love compounds lust into transgressive love

when you ask what such love can or cannot know
nightingales descending grace larks ascending
here is no place where sham’s sweet tears do not flow

mark emmanuel christopher valentine
(© 17 september 2012)

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