Glutton’s Punishment

 

In whichever Circle, the gluttons

Feast on both themselves and nothing,

Are chewed and gulped and spat

And starve. And there’s you, squat

By the table side, squandering

No time on sickly undoing

The bird before you, torn to flays

Of former flesh. Rapt in throes

Of flavoured relish, you fatly feast

Until the belly’s fit to unfasten,

Belt-tight, swell-sore, gut-rotten

Weight of the food: makes you a glutton

Glorying in unpleasantness, love

For a glutton’s punishment.

 

When some people “pig out,” they really go for it. 

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Moth in candle wax

 

Drawn as if by smoke, I drifted

Through the colonnade. At the altar

Rose candlelight, the perfumed mists

Of incense, the aftermath of vespers.

I beheld the ancient candle, melts

Down itself, stalactites, forever

Layering the ritual, sediment, silts

Of centuries’ faiths: over and over

Our Ave Maria. And at such sights

I doubt: drawing darker, drawing nearer

There proved to be a lonely moth

Preserved in the landslide, wax as clear

As ice, lost in faith’s aftermath:

Like a widow’s ring, a fly in amber,

Trapped by art and layers of white belief,

Preserved in faith like bones of ancient martyrs.

 

The tragedy of a living creature, quietly beautiful, caught in the creeping devastation of candle wax – lava in the avalanche of ritual – was just too lovely not to write about.