tagNon-Erotic PoetryAn Ode to Saint Christopher

An Ode to Saint Christopher


dedicated to my physician Michael Stone

Oh Saint Christopher,
you herculean dog-headed Libyan
protector of travellers and healer of the sick

I know, being neither Catholic
nor Baptist nor Buddhist nor any kind of Christian,
nor being Hindu nor Rastafari
nor Pagan nor Taoist nor Jew,

believing in the virtues of many "sins,"
putting no stock in
anything defying or transcending
the laws of nature and the cosmos
(not laws of man and science) :

Yes, it's very true
that it might seem odd for me
to write an ode to you

But I'm feeling weary these days
as if the river of modernity
(with all its noise, machines, and neon lights)
might sweep me away;
I was in the gift shop of a hospital
and(out of courtesy)
I bought your pendant
from an old lady volunteer

But, honestly, it's not just your charity
but your primitivity I revere
(being legendarily a wolf-headed Arab the size of a steer
I'd love to befriend you
and other animals and animal-men
as well as the animalian part of myself
I've usually put on the shelf,
and hope that by doing so
I can become more "Christian" and gentle

I heard the Vatican demoted you-
but the truth is your calling has swollen hugely:
we are Swedes and Germans in America,
Africans in Jamacia,
Thais hidden away in sweat-shops
in the remote Northern Mariana Islands
(where clothes are "Made In The USA,")
Mexicans harvesting Oregon crops,
and tribal apes crafting spears and baskets of silicon

The whole world is on one airplane:
"sane" Christian scientists
and "insane" philosophical Gaiiasts,
Australlian junkies drinking mushroom teas,
Phetchaburi's rice farmers and elephant-worshipping Buddhists,
canny university-educated Aboriginis,
those who log and those who hug trees,
polite old Brits and samurai Japanese,
Jews and Palestinians seated uncomfortably together

The "fasten-your-seat-belt" light is on,
(outside the wind is blowing with lightning might
the Kyoto storm clouds are frightfully black with neglect):
the nuclear run-way is long crossed


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