Skip to Content
Search Icon


Two Sons of Latium

Some light verse.


Two sons of Latium in Gaul interred:

one robed in grey, the other white and black

whose place among the masters went deferred

when Love-Unholy launched his crude attack

upon these minor preachers of the Word

who drew no revenue from Notre-Dame

but pleaded shamelessly for daily bread

amidst the squares and streets with blessèd calm

while suffering the oil upon their head

till, ultra montes, justice heard and cried

and swam the sleepy Seine and blessed its bank

where long at last those beggars long denied

a chair received with joy their rightful rank

(eodem anno eodemque die).

Processions end, and thus their ways diverge

(not ev’ry pilgrim treads the same worn path)

but followers, by some perverted urge,

transformed the roads to trenches lined with wrath

and trails first tread by inkstrokes on the page

became the bristling barricades of greed

and habits rushed to fill them so to wage

war o’er a phrase of apostolic creed:


how ought we understand the end of time

when flesh shall stand before the judgment seat

to fall into the pit of tares and lime

and fire, or rise like bread of leavened wheat?

“If form,” the grey-clad asked, “be simply one,

how can we say the body ought to rise?

Should we deny the Passion of the Son?

Art thou not pagan Plato in disguise?”

With head inclined, the other master prayed

and contemplated the Apocalypse

and, calling silently on heav’nly aid

(the scapular descending from his lips),

“I cannot follow Plato here,” he said,

“whose students claim plurality of forms.

Morphe need not persist in bodies dead,

for God shall reunite what he reforms.”

Upon this question friendship never broke

(the rupture lies among those whom they taught);

God called them both in seemingly one stroke

and for their honor, heirs contrived their plot.

We need not now enumerate the names

of those who levied war within the schools

nor trace the tangled disputation games

where masters stood outgunned by lesser fools. . .

Two sons of Latium in Gaul interred:

a minor eminence; a hound of God.

The fates of each their bodies speak a word

to reach beyond the paths which each had trod.

The first professed that bodies must remain

a sep’rate form until the final day;

the second held that man must but retain

a substance one in life and in decay.

Sed contra:

The body of the former is no more,

dispersed in desecration by the hand

of those who, hot with sin and fury, swore

to banish ev’ry relic from the land.

The body of the latter lies secure

enclosed in steel and stone and glass and gold

awaiting the enrollment of the pure

into th’Eternal Shepherd’s single fold.

What each had taught by preaching and by pen

was realized more fully in the other,

and by their winding paths, these two again

embrace beneath the mantle of their Mother,

unceasingly acclaiming in the light:

O Holy Holy Holy Lord of Might.

To continue reading, subscribe to The Lamp.

Get unlimited access to our complete archive when you subscribe.

Already a Subscriber?

More By This Contributor