National Poetry Month – Charlemagne 1-4

I.

 

The King of the Franks

standing in the aisle of St. Peter’s Church,

he idly inspects the architecture.

Constantine’s big basilica

crowded with a hundred shrines and tombs

and the walls a hundred feet above

crowded with mosaics made of glass

and above them long and ancient wood beams

that seemed to have been felled from a giant’s forest.

The apse is too far away to see clearly

but there seems to be a little too much gold

on the throne of Peter.

 

II.

 

Pope Leo has well-healed scars around his eyelids.

They tried to pry out his eyes out there by the Flaminian Gate

men grabbed him and using their filthy nails

to rip and tear, they almost made him blind.

But Charlemagne’s men, they saved him.

Preserved his life and his dignity.

Surely there was someone who deserved to

save Rome from the Romans.

Empress Irene is so far away,

what she doesn’t know

can’t hurt her.

 

III.

 

Charlemagne is standing in front of the Pope

he is hearing the blessing

and now is being beckoned to kneel

and a crown is placed upon his head

and he is now made the Emperor of the Romans.

He is the new Augustus ruling in the name of God.

How on Earth?

But he realizes that the Earth is his, at least the parts

he knows about.

Suddenly he knew what power was and how to wield it.

 

IV.

 

Dinner was served.

A big plate of

flame roasted meat.

A glass of wine.

Augustine’s ‘City of God’ read for fun.

No more hops, skips, or jumps.

Back to bed to practice his letters

with stylus and wax.

To feel old and running short of time

before the end can come

But all things must die.

Even rulers of the world must succumb.

“Lord Jesus, save my soul.

remember how I honored you

and the glory I put into the promulgation

of your words.”

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