Thursday, March 13, 2014

Feet and a poem about St. Jerome's lion

        I have generally been fond of my feet; if not quite those of a human being they are those of a passing honest, quite possibly a sedulous, ape. They were my father’s feet before me, and probably his father’s before him, running (or, more likely, dignifiedly ambling) back to my ancestor who had other concerns than coming down from the trees. Now I’m told that feet like this shant do at all; they should have an arch or some such fancy new-fangled structure. (The podiatrist kept circling back with wonder to how very flat they are). The Achilles tendon is not happy apparently, and an unhappy Achilles can lead only to the fall of Troy and the rise of Greek literature. A variety of things should be done; strange footwear worn; odd exercises done; savage gods propiatiated. At some point there will be a filmed gait analysis. (I suspect it will go viral; who would not wish to see me walking? Perhaps I should do a little dancing as well).

        All this is mere prologue to a poem inspired by having seen St. Jerome sitting in a Manhattan doorway (there was no mistaking him; he looked just like El Greco’s painting). Saint Jerome, of course, has a lion (Saint Anthony has a pig; Saint Lucy carries her eyes on a plate. Being a saint has all kinds of cool perogatives).

After all this time together the lion
Can work small miracles.To see him
Following St. Jerome on Lexington Avenue
You would say he is a dog. Of course
The real dogs know. They have decided
One of them must learn to speak
The flat language of men. “Beware!”
She will say; “there is a lion here
And he has a saint with him!
Quick, make this next turn
We can take Madison home.”


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