Creative Righting!: A poem about one of my favourite Christian martyrs

by rightscholarship

Antipas of Pergamum

I’m working through some heavy reading, and for some reason my addled brain threw up this poem about St. Antipas of Pergamum, who you can read a little about here. Even though I can appreciate the likes of Ezra Pound, I’m really a bit of a poetic philistine, in that I prefer poems that rhyme in couplets and make some sense on the first reading–like many of the poems of Roy Campbell. I’ll consider this version 1.0!

Saint Antipas in the Brazen Bull

Living every moment full,
I burn inside the brazen bull.
A burnished mask, but within,
A boiling mass of hair and skin.

Inside the snout, a funnel set,
Like a trumpet for the deaf,
To translate every shriek and groan,
Into a muted, bovine low.

At Pergamum, and with God’s grace,
I preached upon the altarplace
Where wiser men had offered up
Roosters for Asclepius.

I baptized many, set them free,
And taught them of the World to be.
The rest connived through lies and fraud
To force the vengeance of the gods.

Brought to trial, I stood alone,
At the foot of Satan’s throne.
A fire already roared beneath
The belly of the hollow beast.

“Antipas,” one soldier growled,
“The whole world is against you now.”
I replied, “Your world will fall,
And I shall stand against you all.”

A few old priests who sympathized
Heard my sentence with surprise
And offered protest–even tears!–
But none would follow me in here.

Christ the King will come again
With bread from Heaven. Until then,
While sinners bask with bellies full,
I burn inside the brazen bull.