'Grace' by Mara Lemanis

Grace by Mara Lemanis




The grace of wisdom

arcs over pain

like an aurora over broken glass

and from the splinters

forms history’s hologram

to bear us to the hall

where justice sits

and lays bare pain;

it is the hall

where our defenses cry

and deny offenses

we once swore

and tossed from memory.


The grace of wisdom

wafts over words

conjured from fossils

exhaling dreams

of immortality;

she waits to welcome,

but is never called

to field assaults

and vagaries of chance

or rude defeats;

she summons pageants

of remembering

where history’s patrons,

 disciples, minions

reenter the court

of common ancestry,

stone axes polished,

swords gleaming in the fires of will,

bows strung like chain links

with arrows pitched to pierce

and scream like storm whistles;

chariots, catapults, siege towers, missiles

all loom in the glory

of their armored claims

as peacemakers, artisans, scientists, sages

ministers of action and retraction

berate and praise,

condemn and boost

the sturdy covenant that shields

their liberal arts,

their fastidious thoughts.


All bow to those stiff arms

that rise and fall,

come pain and thrall,

the storied legions

of the Parthians,

the Mughals, Mongols, Macedonians,

Romans, Ottomans,

the Krasnaya Armiya,

 the federal forces of USA;

their bodies flouting pain

exacting victory and ruin,

laurels and grief.


Before us like an unillumined

cataract in heaven’s vault

waits fate

we blindly tried to steer

defy, plead, mollify, or warn,

listening to soundwaves

echoed mouth to mouth

as ear to ear we hear--

the boom of “great” and “grand,”

the chant of “me” and “mine,”

the baritone ring of “our”—

sounds scraped from wilderness

etched on monuments,

engraved on castle walls

and gates of villas,

piped through doorways

of handmade homes

to the last stutter of time’s entropy;

to the seat of judgment

where wisdom waits

to joust with fate

and meets our gaze

with a wistful

laugh of grace.


                                                                                    Mara Lemanis


Images : 1) Brueghel-The Fall of Icarus, 2) Circe's smile