Ode to Saint Paul

Alison L. JamesPoetry


Oh timeless traveler,
Do you still visit childhood haunts
Below the Cydnus River banks
Above the trading port of Tarsus
Where Egyptian Queen Cleopatra
Beguiled Roman Mark Anthony?

Oh cosmopolitan one,
A Roman by citizenship,
A Jew by birth,
A tent-maker by trade,
Did you dare to dream
The threads of your life
Would weave such luminary strands?

Oh Saul, by strict Pharisee Gamaliel tutored,
Schooled in ancient Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek,
You blended into the international city
That was Tarsus,
Where Jews, Asiatics, Syrians, Persians,
Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans met.
Did such a pagan city
Inspire you
Even as a child?
Did the grandeur that was Rome
Engulf your early consciousness?

Oh holy paradigm,
Deep in your soul
Did you fear His omnipotence
For your trail of Christian persecution?
Till along the Damascus road
You saw Jesus’ light who asked:
“Why persecuteth thou me ?”.
For three days you stumbled
Defaced of self, removed from materiality,
Without sight, without food or drink,
To become God’s chosen vessel.

Oh Paul, Apostle and Saint,
Through Christ you came to yourself
To witness the righteous of God
To Jew and Gentile alike.
Do you still feel sea breezes
Carrying you across azure seas?
Did not the Lord save you
From three shipwrecks
To bear witness to the Truth?

Oh Mercurius, messenger of God,
Do you recall your open orations
And later hidden underground meetings
Risking the perils of disease and death?
Did you brush the dust from your feet
From miles and miles trodden underfoot
To bring the good news to the poor,
To reason in the synagogues,
To Baptize, heal and
Show the way of salvation
By faith, hope and love?

Oh selfless and courageous one,
Beaten and chained, wracked with pain,
Dungeon walls and bars could not contain you
Or prevent you from writing letters
Of love, guidance and encouragement
To fellow Christians
Concerning yourself only with their well-being
And denying yourself.

Oh mystic one,
Did you walk on other plains
To lose yourself in Christ
To become a fisher of men?
Did the glory of the Father
Transport you to know
Who you truly are
And to perform miracles?

Oh healing one, Master Hilarion,
Cloaked, you move like living water
Roaming no more the desert sands,
To wash our hearts,
Cleanse our minds
And heal our souls.
Help us to wear the robe and follow
Your earned consciousness.