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IN SAINTE CHAPELLE – By Will Walker

Posted on Sep 1, 2017 by in September 2017 | 0 comments

In Sainte Chapelle, a man holds his eight-day-old son
up to the light, cradles his diapered son in his two
meaty hands and holds the child, diapered, naked torso
and Buddha belly, wobbly head and little gently groping
hands with impossibly delicate fingers up to the light,

as if to a blessing, as if raising the child above us to
deliver with his open, rising fingers a benediction.
The baby does not see the suffering in the light, does not
know the words for blue or red or color, sees nothing
of the history, does not know where to look for the blood
in the stories beginning with Cain and flowing out

into the untold history of the Louis, the centuries
of monarchy, peasants crushed into dust, the forced
amassing of untold wealth–to say nothing of the sweat
of the builders, the toil of the craftsmen, the hands
of laborers, soldiers, mothers, wives, bishops and kings
that built this chapel of glass to house a piece
of Christ’s crown of thorns and a chip of the true cross.

The father sees only his son naked but for a diaper,
bathed in a light so rare we want it still to be holy,
to purify every betrayal that brought us here, to bless
each shattered limb, each broken corpse that it was built
upon, and we all want it for this young life, though he is
bathed in suffering, swaddled in blood, besotted
with the beauty of the light of this world.

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