James B. Nicola


He said that of the four, Fire
Was first, the font of Everything,
Though he too looked around and saw

Only Earth, Water and Air: that is,
Solid, Liquid and Gas;
Fire being ephemeral, and rare.

He had no microscope back then.
Who taught him how to look and know
The furnace inside every atom

Ablaze with energy
That even crystal, ice and diamond,

Were far more hot than cold
Just in their being there?
That fire was

The word
To almost everything?

Must have given him
The Word!

And if In the beginning was the Word,
The Word was Yes,
And Yes was Fire.

James B. Nicola © 2014


St. Peter’s, The Vatican

marmor marmor marmor
clackle ackle ack
scuffle squish scuffle uffle squeak
And myriads of modern feet
shod in modern ways
circulate in semi-stanchioned chaos
in general ungenuflective
randomly reflective
on centuries-buffed, unsentimental stone
red ropes keep them amply apart
clackle ack
jackets, sweaters, sweatshirts
guarded over arms
draped over shoulders
tied around waists
might be forgotten but not like souls be lost
assorted straps and cameras
slung unslung and slung
commemorate the singular occasion
The multitude pounds lightly
their gasps and murmurs
soft and sweet, so they do not
drown out the omnipresent echo
the sanguine susurrations of the stone.
marmor marmor marmor
What buried bishops whisper through the marble?
What hard soles
tickle unread chiselings
now all but worn away
on coffin lids?

What smaller-personed sneakers
in innocent abandon
impressed irrespective of the times
slide and scrape?
What agony or token
of what untamed apostle
is being
trampled on
only to resound
in what artists’ conglomerates of
what sundry styles that scream
out secrets through the silence of the stone
marmor scuff
for a quarter hour’s stroll
of a millennium?

marmor marmor marmor
clackle ackle ack
scuffle squish scuffle uffle squeak

James B. Nicola © 2014