St. Thecla

That his fast-flowing hours with sandy silt
Should choke sweet virtue's glory is Time's great guilt.
Who thinks of Thecla? Yet her name was known,
Time was, next whitest after Mary's own.
To that first golden age of Gospel times
And bright Iconium eastwards reach my rhymes.
Near by is Paul's free Tarsus, fabled where
Spent Pegasus down the stark-precipitous air┬░
Flung rider and wings away; though these were none,┬░
And Paul is Tarsus' true Bellerophon.┬░
They are neighbours; but (what nearness could not do)
Christ's only charity charmed and chained these two.
She, high at the housetop sitting, as they say,
Young Thecla, scanned the dazzling streets one day;
Twice lovely, tinted eastern, turned Greek —
Crisp lips, straight nose, and tender-slanted cheek.
Her weeds all mark her maiden, though to wed,
And bridegroom waits and ready are bower and bed.
Withal her mien is modest, ways are wise,
And grave past girlhood earnest in her eyes.
Firm accents strike her fine and scrolled ear,
A man's voice and a new voice speaking near.
The words came from a court across the way.
She looked, she listened: Paul taught long that day.
He spoke of God the Father and His Son,
Of world made, marred, and mended, lost and won;
Of virtue and vice; but most (it seemed his sense)
He praised the lovely lot of continence:
All over, some such words as these, though dark,
The world was saved by virgins , made the mark.
He taught another time there and a third.
The earnest-hearted maiden sat and heard,
And called to come at mealtime she would not:
They rose at last and forced her from the spot.
Rate this poem: 


No reviews yet.