Monday, April 7, 2014


Hagia Sophia, Image by Roweromaniak,  from Wikimedia Commons

 I am participating in Mary Lee Hahn's "Our Wonderful World" this month. Mary Lee has compiled a list of thirty wonders, and each day she is writing a poem about a different one. Today's wonder is the Hagia Sophia. In her back story, Mary Lee reflected on the nature of faith, and, I think, humans need to be right. 

I thought about faith, too, as I read about the Hagia Sophia. One fact that particularly struck me is how this beautiful building was first a lively worship center, but has now become a museum, where people go and admire what used to be. For me, that was kind of a metaphor on how easy it is to lose one's faith, or become distracted, and that's the direction I went today.

And if you are interested in poetic form, I also played around with the tanka, a cousin to the haiku. Each of the main stanzas has a 5-7-5-7-7 syllable format.

“Hagia Sophia”

at its beginning
faith is a red orange crackling
flame, noisy, hungry
all-consuming, insatiable
and yet called to deep stillness.

His message is unyielding.

Pure and undefiled
religion tends to widows,
cares for fatherless,
gives without hope of repayment
turns soft forgiving cheek.

He speaks again.

Abba Father says
Child I have this against you
you have lost your first
love, and let gray ash replace
my sacred burning flame.

How easy it is
to let the raging fire
be extinguished ‘til
it becomes nothing more than
a museum exhibit. 

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2014


Mary Lee said...

Oh, Carol. This is simply gorgeous. A prayer or a hymn in its own right. I can hear it set to music. Love the way you used the form and punctuated between the stanzas with those single lines.

Linda B said...

So many poems to read this April-missed this yesterday! Interesting commenting voice, Carol. How much we view instead of experience!

Today I Love said...

Beautiful! I may very well be sharing this one with my students tomorrow. I love playing around with syllabic forms, as do many of my students. Thanks for sharing.

Margaret Simon said...

I love how you have used the form to guide your words. Somehow the rhythm is soothing even though the message disturbs. I have seen the Hagia Sophia and it is a sacred place despite the tourism.