Through Europe are the bones of Saints
fought over, purchased, collected over centuries
to gain reward,
entry to a greater kingdom than this brief life can offer.
John the Baptist left his arm, silver encased, in Istanbul.
His skull in Munich,
while his fingers, toes and thigh lay
 encased in gold and jewels in parts more distant.
The thumbs  of  Peter and Paul, torn from their Roman tombs,
 wait out the trumpet call in Ireland,
an investment  to a higher plane
for those buried close
hoping for return.
Saint Mark rests easy in Venetian gold
His body hard won, rocked in gondala'd bliss,
a celebration of a city's past commercial blessing.
In Rome is the manger, prayed over by a massive Pope,
Encased in crystal, gold captured from some Mayan Prince
whose soul, saved by inquisitive priests, now drifts
from its ancient pyre  toward the stars...
Tiny suns beating as the hearts of infants
raised in celebration of a greater God.
In Diocletian's baths Gregorian voices chant their faith,
channel hope in Saint Justinian's  bones .
And, in a distant square, Saint Agonese hides,
her church a tomb unvisited by all except the curious,
in incense laden dust.
In Paris, French saints built palaces for crowns,
their thorns preserved in reliquaries,
while nails, still cased in bloodstained oak, hold pride of place
on altars waiting for a communion yet to come.
And modern tourists, pause but to wonder
not at hope eternal but at the craft, the lives of artists

Alan Papprill

If you've any comments on this poem, Alan Papprill would be pleased to hear from you.