For thirteen years, I sang at The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC before developing vocal health issues. The sad day that I quit that job was also the happy day I started writing, and spirituality is a recurring theme in my work. Founder of the Broadneck Writers’ Workshop in Annapolis, Maryland (www.broadneckwritersworkshop.com), I am also the author of World Class: Poems Inspired by the ESL Classroom and other works which have appeared in such journals as Kansas City Voices, Kestrel, and Ducts.
on viewing Torchère with Acanthus Leaves and Clawed Feet
-unknown artist, 16c., Italy, walnut and gilding
How much wood to craft this stand
grand as the Vatican,
graffitied by time and worms?
A trunk as great as the cross?
How much time to carve this wood
ornate as the Papal throne,
with garlands, swags and blooms?
A winter’s worth of days?
How much wax to mold this candle
tall as an acolyte,
pure as a new-baptized soul?
A cow’s worth of tallow?
How much candle power to move
from Dark Ages to Enlightenment,
Reformation to Inquisition
one guttering flame at a time?
As if a clay oil lamp would not
have served as well?
-first appeared in Bluestone Review (2014)
©2015 J.C. Elkin