St. Benedict of Nursia

St. Benedict and the Stars, 35" x 60," Oil on panel, by Melissa Carmon

St. Benedict and the Stars, 35" x 60," Oil on panel, by Melissa Carmon

SAINT BENEDICT

Saint Benedict
The fires are burning
man with a smile
a man who knows
who watches from shadows
waits, and all the while
tends flame

Little lights
oh yes they are small
but patiently
your hands set to work
never ceasing
you set the fires burning

Little lights
set in strings
form veins
bring life

“In the black night of history
you yourself were a star”
But that was only written later. 
In truth, we have forgotten what the
darkness was like
we have forgotten that many things live
in a dark wood,
and that the hungry grey bark
of trees swallows sound

"The jar is broken, Benedict,”
They say.  But Benedict doesn’t listen
he is too busy weaving

The monasteries, like knots
monasteries, like diamonds, 
set like constellations on the mountains
unique in language, light, and color
they span the skies

Benedict, with peace in death
a steady step,  and steady hands
once put in motion, the momentum
rolls across  the centuries
dust to dust, perhaps. 
But life to life as well.  

"The woods are full of ghosts, Benedict."
But he doesn’t answer.  He only smiles. 
And looks down to kindle another light.

 

Historical background:  St. Benedict (480 CE - 547 CE)was named one of the patron Saints of Europe.  In his time, the Roman empire was in an impoverished state compared to its former glory.  He wrote the still popular Rule of St. Benedict, and the wisdom therein stabilized the monasteries and caused them to prosper as centers of learning and literacy.  As Europe experienced the Dark Ages, the monasteries were stable enough to provide a cultural and religious unity in a time of political fragmentation.   

Melissa Carmon