The Lessons

Featured image: The Phoenix, by Yatin Marneni

Undisturbed, serene exterior hiding silent blazing ember
of an ancient, mighty meteor crashing deep into the sea;
Hopeful, though I feebly struggle, chasing down the distant bugle
Blaring up and down the rubble of a bygone century;
Blood and heart fly like a comet, dimly I begin to see
Voices that say, “follow me.”

Now means nothing; Then is present. Gowns and laurel leaves resplendent,
Each a steadfast, honored merchant gifting stars to us for free,
Straddled rift of time enriching, I, a slave and student, listening
To my lovely masters pouring their old wisdom into me;
As their muses become mine, we connive with Mercury
Riding waves of history.

As they did, I do in turn. Armed with reverence, I can learn,
Wield celestial torches burning with unending melody
Heard before the days of Sparta, kept and lost in Alexandria,
Found and spread throughout Arabia, passed to towns of Italy,
Taught and read in every school, then dismissed as fantasy,
Far too long hidden from me.

Found anew, this cosmic fire bids my heart go ever higher
Lest my quickened breath expire, yielding to dull malady.
Swimming in this starry cosmos, bursting forth from stifling silos,
Pushing back against the otiose laws of temporality;
Free at last from these disgusting laws of temporality,
I bid them enlighten me!

They fall silent, bid me listen. “All my work is straw.” I listen.
“Heart speaks unto heart.” I listen. “Our hearts were made for Thee.”
“Love is patient; Love is kind.” “All who seek and knock shall find.”
“Flight is good, but keep in mind; you are a fleshly entity.”
Chastened, anchored, I resign; this knowledge is too great for me,
Oh so new, but not yet free.

Countenance still undisturbed, misplaced fervor gently curbed,
Faith in the Incarnate Word enriched by virtuous jealousy,
I set out with firm ambition, having found my inspiration:
Heartfelt imitation is the highest form of flattery.
One day, to join saintly legions wrapped in wondrous ecstasy,
Ever singing, “Glory Be!”

Paul-Hervé Quesnel is a Ph.D. student in the Marquette Philosophy department and intends to specialize in ancient and medieval philosophical anthropology. He is also a professional musician in his spare time, and enjoys ice skating and gymnastics.

Yatin Thomas Marneni is a student studying in the Accounting Program at the College of Business Administration at Marquette University. He spends his time studying for class, visiting his family in Illinois, and working on various drawings and paintings.