—after François Mauriac
If you wish to resist the cross of Christ
Don’t you dare dream up a casual affair.
Follow Rimbaud. Pulled hair, soul sunken,
Swear your friends fiends, rival Satan’s refusal,
Gutturally given out of season and drunken,
Scorning the Jesus who slept through the storm,
Spitting at nuns who tend your sad corps.
But deathbed, foul breath, you’ll mouth off bad faith:
Prepare everything in my room just so,
Arrange the candles and needle-worked lace.
Now let the chaplain confess my coarse soul.
White linen must pall every inch of this place.
The priest appears and makes ready the bread.
Consummatum est pax crosses over the dead.
Joshua Hren is founder of Wiseblood Books and co-founder of the MFA at the University of St. Thomas. He regularly publishes essays and poems in such journals as First Things and America, National Review and Commonweal, Public Discourse and LOGOS, Evangelization & Culture and The Lamp. Joshua’s books include: the novel Infinite Regress; the short story collections This Our Exile and In the Wine Press; the book of poems Last Things, First Things, & Other Lost Causes; Middle-earth and the Return of the Common Good: J.R.R. Tolkien and Political Philosophy; How to Read (and Write) Like a Catholic; and Contemplative Realism: A Theological-Aesthetical Manifesto.