Old Men

Apse Mosaic

I’ve already abused y’all with this poem, I fear. But since this blog is all that is likely to endure after I am gone (that, and maybe a tombstone with an vulgar inscription), I’m posting it here as well.

The hoary hymn Abide With Me laments
“Change and decay in all around I see”
But when gray hair examines its intents
It finds it sings the line with not a little glee

For when a man has reached a certain age
He sees his world crumble, and turns grim
And starts to long, before he leaves the stage
To have the thing he’s built interred with him

He regards a son who will not mind him
A polis bent, and with a different face
A newer tune, played loudly to remind him
That no one cares to praise or take his place

So why not raze the walls and burn the roof?
Why pass it on to those who love it not?
Let waters in, let chaos be the proof
That men should not forget what they forgot

Against all this stands Clement’s church in Rome
Its apse all canopied by Christ the vine
Its tendrils climb to our eternal home
And take root in the cross, both His and thine

But down below the apse, below the floor
There stands a church built up in centuries past
And that one rests upon one made before
The Christ arrived to play the first and last

And for that church, this revelation:
What no Minervan priest suspected
Both faith and church would prove foundation
For some new house of God, erected

on the stones of that uncertain faith
The work of some old man who rued his end
And longed to make the solid world a wraith
Because he could not make God’s Providence his friend.


  1. I’m glad to read this.

    I’m voting for a KolleKtiv book of collected poems. It could completely be done with material from this website.

  2. Phooey, not me. Editors-schmeditors. Put the poems in a document and get someone with design experience (I’m looking at you, Southern Expat), done.

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