Axis Mundi

So, if you would be a Saint,
by which I mean that S-T
stands stoutly before your name;
and miracles multiply
like dandelions springing
wild from your incorrupt heart;
and your wise eyes stare star-like
from icons, your head haloed
on silver platters of paint;
and we remember your death-
day with feasts, and bells ringing;
if you would be, in short, thou:
— then pray, do not be too loud
stalking that shimmering bird;
do not go crashing headlong
through bushes, burning or not;
do not shout, and do not move
suddenly, as if grasping
feathers would give you flight. No;
be the axis of the world,
the spinning earth’s still center:
be a rock-rooted old oak,
strong limbs sieving the long sky
for such as the wind might send.
Wait; pray for thy beloved
to rise, bend, and then descend,
alighting at last upon
your cupped hands,
your parted lips,
your outstretched tongue;
the burning bird
setting you ablaze.

This originally appeared in Dappled Things.

About the art

By A. Davey from Where I Live Now: Pacific Northwest – Detail, Wall Painting, Old Church of St. Mary of Zion, Axum, EthiopiaUploaded by Elitre, CC BY 2.0,

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