Paolo Veronese, Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints detail (1564-65). Oil on canvas, 420 x 230 cm. San Sebastiano, Venice.
Arrows pierced his throat and thigh
which only knew, before that time
the dolors of a concubine.
Near above him, hardly over,
hovered his gold martyr’s crown.
Even Mary from Her tower
of heaven leaned a little down
and as She leaned, She raised a corner
of a cloud through which to spy.
Sweetly troubled Mary murmured
as She watched the arrows fly.
And as the cup that was profaned
gave up its sweet, intemperate wine,
all the golden bells of heaven
praised an emperor’s concubine.
Mary, leaning from her tower
of heaven, dropped a tiny flower
but, privately, she must have wondered
if it were indeed quite wise to [sic]
let this boy in Paradise?
Dear Commander at the Roman Emperor's court, you chose to be also a soldier of Christ and dared to spread faith in the King of Kings, for which you were condemned to die. Your body, however, proved athletically strong and the executing arrows extremely weak. So another means to kill you was chosen and you gave your life to the Lord. May athletes be always as strong in their faith as their Patron Saint so clearly has been. Amen.
ST SEBASTIAN BY CARLO DOLCI
St. Sebastian, Sé Cathedral, Lisbon
Vincenzo Campi, Saint Sebastian, 1580s
Martyrdom of St. Sebastian. Anthony Van Dyck.
The St. Sebastian Review is one of my favorite newly discovered online (note: FREE) literary magazines (other favorites include the Apple Valley Review and Muzzle). What I love, love, love about the St. Sebastian Review (besides the fact that three of my poems…
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