The sanctuary lamp
is burning danger-red.
The host is sealed away
like radium in lead.

Behind the golden doors
your glowing heart decays,
emitting bits of love
as burning alpha rays.

I’d climb inside that tomb,
I’d cook in your desire,
my atoms all deranged,
my organs all on fire.

10 Comments on “Decay”

  1. Mary W. says:

    Did you ever read John of the Cross’s “Living Flame of Love”? His memorial was just celebrated yesterday at Mass. Your poem and photo remind me of it a lot, as we are invited to such a deep union with God, that we become like that piece of wood so consumed with fire that it becomes a glowing ember with light and heat emanating from deep within. See

    1. I have, but not for a long while, and I’ve been meaning to encounter his work again. Thank you for reminding me.

  2. GayChatline says:

    Beautiful poem, but feels so depressing to read.

  3. Maribel says:

    This is a wonderful poem you have written. Thank you for sharing it with all of us! I wish I could write a poem that’s as skillfully written as this.

  4. Emma says:

    I read your poem several times, and the word title decay makes me catch my breath. I never thought about it that way, but it rings true that a life before the Eucharist is like a slow death unto yourself…it’s my journey to observe “who I think I am” decaying into nothing when I don’t even know “who I am are supposed to be” least that is how I feel sometimes. I do like holding onto the part of me that is supposed to burn or rot away into nothing in the presence of our Lord…I feel like a piece of decay more than the glowing ember 🙂 thank you for sharing your poem !

    1. Yes! And thank you for getting my poem.

  5. Kerri says:

    I love this.

    Hang in there! Thinking of you and praying.

  6. Scott says:

    Wow. Beautiful.

  7. Mary Laurent says:

    Thank you for this. It reminds me of one I read in an actual book and copied. I can’t find it on the internet, but here it is. In the original Spanish and then the English translation. The author is Federico Lisci Espino, Jr., a Filipino poet.

    Dos Llamas
    El pan ya no es pan sino ácimo amor.
    Calor sin levadura. Fuego. Ardor.
    Pero entre el tabernáculo y mi hambre,
    se interpone otro fuego. Calentura.
    Fiebre de carne. Quema. Quemazon.
    Mas una raciadura, una frescura
    me apaga el fuego arcano,
    Y el pan ya no es pan sino invitación.

    Two Flames
    The bread is bread no more but unleavened love.
    Ferment without leaven. Ardor. Fire.
    But between the tabernacle and my hunger
    burns another fire, another flame.
    Fever of flesh. Pyretic heat.
    But a loving coolness, aspergial and clear,
    snuffs the flame
    And the bread which is bread no more invites us.

  8. Allison V. says:

    I love your poem. It reminds me of controlled fires which clear land for ecological benefit. Our Lord used several parables involving crops or vegetation. Wood ash improves soil fertility.

    May the fire in you be the impetus which bears much fruit.

    Luke 8: 4-15.

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