St. Augustine of Hippo, in his study at Carthage in

North Africa, with Dame Theology.

 

 Easter Sunday  morning dawns in the choir-stalls of St Paul's, and the new poet has already dreamt during the night, of a robed procession of the Communion of Saints, Martyrs, and Doctors of the Church, in the garden of Gethsemane, witnessed in the presence of Our Lady

beside Christ's tomb at midday. Then, he awakens in a study in Carthage in Africa, before Augustine of Hippo and Dame Theology. 

 

Rare, raspy, high and percushioning, of, a benison, moves

Rollingly, heady humidity at noon, hot and high, high and

Hot, in June, not April, in Africa, moves rollingly, heady

 

Humidity, hot and high, in swirling unalacritous, moving reams

Of parcelling air, baking Carthage air; but cooled fronds, of

Morning air caressed us, that Easter Sunday dawn, the white

 

Bearded saint, and I, in the white habit of one penitent,

A white scapular, of an undecided abbey. Clothed, I was, in 

A white gown, the tutee to a Tutor. His study, admitted

 

Flakes of splintering zephrys, driving away, a fuge clump

Fog of night-baked, dead air, scattered upon codices

Manuscripts, books and vermillion papers, scattered

In indeterminacy upon the desks of the author

Of 'De Civitate Dei', and 'Confessiones'. Lifted up, was

The drooping, long book-pooring head, to espy my

Infiltrate upon the mardy day, that had delivered me

To his densely fibrous presence. 'Who are you, as

I, was once, a one, who scored those words

Upon a refectory desk, cutting words of peace and

Penitence, that should open out now my Brown mouth

To your new nuisance, when still are these letters

To Paula begging notice?' And I: 'O, Augustine,

Ben a Benedictus upon me now, who hope to swirl

Within company, these gowns of ravishing Ravenna,

Where the frati minori diligently tend, to their postulating

Enterprises. A lady in a girdle gown of white, I gather

There will be, later today, Easter Sunday noon, in the

Faded olive groves of Gethsemane, because birthed was there,

A gift of write, seeded in me, when a sacred face Florentine

Swirled, out to me five years yonder ago. I am an eject

From the sacred Pauline cloisters, of San Paolo fuori-le-mura,

Dominic's true, canis domini, a bounding, Blackfriars puppy, no 

Vacuous pompous, but, with a Torch in his mouth, branding out,

A consecrating goodness, that would evangelize,

And rip out from this undamned spot, a New Gospel, 

For England, Harry and St George. O, Augustine,

I am here, because I know of those dry calcified bones,

That were lain in faint decoration, upon the ways

And by-ways, your motherly tender, Saint Monica

Laid out, upon the tilling soil littering the faint

Gradient of the via Ostia. O, Augustine, I come

In the name of a deceased Irish saint priest, who sent

Me to the juicy orange groves of via dei Santi Quattro,

Adjacent the Lateran, that a specializing aqua frizzante, would

Spume upon ferment of my tongue one day, and, I would

Wash the streets of  Florence with my unlazy waters,

To mix the Tiber with Arno and the Thames, the greyhound

To mate modern England to redemption, with him

Who strophed 'The Divine Comedy', in exile in Ravenna'.

Pensive, hard, and indoctrinated, upon those industrious

Volumes, the undelaying head went up, of him whose

Chin, was swathed in white and flecks of unrazored

Stubble smothered all over his visage. 'It is I, who

Did rehtoric with Ambrose, and spill, verba, over

Lecturing desks, in Milan'. And, dropping, from his

Eyes, was a note of imprecation to give up past

Ways of taint. 'Do you have a metalled gift for me,

Andrea?' And, dropping, I that, which had been given

Me in that too tabernacling cloister. 'It is an anvil,

That I must lodge aside that millenium door of 

St Peter's in Rome, so Sir Thomas More, told me, that

The forty martyrs of England and Wales, will heap

Their holy prayers upon Godless England, he, titled,

'Defensor Fidei''. And, coming then a blessed train in

Morning's light, - Beatrice and April - , and, a lady with

A crown of chrysanthemums and roses, whose wondrous

Countenance, proclaimed, her provenance,

Dame Theology, as exiled Boethius, had

Known, Dame Philosophy.

And, the dead done day, sped out the cloister, the night

Of darkness done, and the morning lark reprised

Her specializing lyricism. 'A lark, a lark, a morning

 

Lark', I cried. 'O, she is here, to unsecrete, the

Morning anvil, to take me out the tantric wastes of Africa,

And flourish me to the metropolis of Jerusalem;

 

That this tomba town, be quit, for the auspices of an

Augustinanum? Where is the Morean maid

Of ministry? Where is the minister of 'the manger of

 

Light', that I will alight upon the most densely fenestrated

Way, and tread a footstep, to the lip of all portals,

And the guiding star proof of the study of the Carthage man,

 

Who did equilibrium out a passage for Christianity;

Once a rhetoriciam under Ambrose, whose final was

The falsity of the luminous fruit Manichees forgotten?

 

And apportioned, then, was Augustine within his

Claiming study, and buried beneath flotsam and jetsam,

Books of Theology, that are eternal dished and re-

 

Dished, to his nodailty of primacy, that all the litter

Of all the libraries theological, is pressed to pre-

Sentiment upon the brown basin of the desk of the

 

Carthage saint. 'For his obduracy, in that concubinage,

All, that Augustine would know of today, Luther, Rahner,

Scheleirmacher, Bultmann, Tillich, Gutierrez, and Newman, 

 

Is returned to his study, fielding Carthage in Heaven, where

Is recreate, that nobility of endeavour, that Hippo feasted

On, to satiation that in the library of Heaven, where

 

Is sifted out, dross from the gloss and the chaff

From the wheat'. Titanic stairways and cantilevering

Bookshelves, built up above the byways above my

 

Head, so that it seemed, all, of that Library Vatican,

The Prefect, could have consumed within aura of its

Benevolent housing. An afric boy, skipped about his feet.

 

Wondered, I, how I could disturb such a presence

From his rumination, so buried was the weighty

Head about his inordinate reading, and, burying

 

Myself in the vale of the via Ostia, I inleant my

Heart to that of St Monica, knowing, that I was

Too, an Augustine, to my mother Catherine, for

 

Endlesss journeys spiritual and intellectual, and I

Recited in tears: 'Impedente die, quo ex hac

Vita dissoluta est', those tear-filled words, all I knew

 

To unearth him, from his ruminations,

To rouse him, from the over-commune within

Himself. And, above, and around, and moving

 

In around and stealing soft serenity, shadows

Of the study of St Augustine, and I, in Carthage

At last and in the study of the lusty church

 

Statesman, who had took to wife in concubinage,

And, an Adeodatus produced. 'From those councils,

I will teach you doctrine, I, as an Evagrius Ponticus, that

 

You will see, your instrument of grace: Sacerdos of an

Immaculate ecclesia; he was the prime of book service,

Me, Joyce and Newman, that you, serve books, and they in

 

Turn, would serve you'. And, he pushed up his eyes to sediment

Of wooden shelves. 'Here, choirwood and library wood shelf

Meet; you, amanuensis, will make a patchwork, a Cento as

 

Proba did, that you will give hope to the world, that condense,

Of this world, will be given, that you cut some of its sally into joy.

Be unmean to Migne, and lace yourself unto Theology and

 

Patristics, both Greek and Latin, that your heart will wake

To that turtle dove in your being, and, a snippet of divine

Fortitude, you will render, to the faithful of today, so that the

 

Urbi et orbi Easter Sunday, San Pietro, balcony man, Holy Father,

Sweet, holy, humble Francis, will place a laurel crown, upon your brow'.

And, I looked at magnificence, of shelves around me, seeing volume upon

 

Volume, page upon page, piling about my head, page upon volume, of Theology.

'The Christ Colloquy', Book V Teologia, Canto I, Grattan.

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