Mennonite Poetry Home | Robert Martens



lilies and onions

they dance and jump in the fire, view the glistening sword with fearless hearts, speak and
preach to the people with smiles on their faces; they sing psalms and other songs until
their souls have departed, they die with joy, as if they were in happy company.

— bishop johannes fabri, persecutor of anabaptists.

they sear her tongue
so she won't preach from
a burning pulpit. they
shatter her clay body with
hammer and tongs. they watch
satan whisper in her ear. it's
not a matter of courage: the city
of this world is a dungheap, naked
lords on thrones of shit.

on a bright morning she's trundled
to the town square. the lilies
are in bloom. women hawk onions
in the market, children
play tag, burghers eat pastry,
gawk and gossip. fire
makes love to her, the city flares.
i have chosen you.
the flames go cold.

her tormentors return to hearth
and family, waste away
with the disease
of freedom.

© Robert Martens




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