Thursday, August 31, 2017

Winner of the Ballade (Not Ballad) Contest: Jennifer Perrine

Happy to share the winner of the Ballade (Not Ballad) Contest "Greed|Charity" by Jennifer Perrine!

Greed | Charity

In purgatory, penitents are bound,
immobile, laid with faces pressed
down, gazes fixed upon the ground
as they contemplate every excess.
We thrill to imagine their holy distress,
take pleasure in the sufferings
Dante conjured, horrors meant to impress
us, sate our love for earthly things.

We enter the fire a crude compound,
sizzle until we incandesce,
until we’re nothing but a mound
of gold, stripped of the dross of worldliness.
Origen’s metaphor doesn’t hold unless
we ignore our end: coin clutched in the purse strings
of God. Still, we ask the divine to assess
us, sate our love for earthly things.

Whatever peace we may have found
through our acquiring, our largesse—
how our generosity astounds—
harbors the low rumble of pain we repress,
afterimage of the dispossessed
we try to shake, but our senses cling
to the hoardings, petty thefts that possess
us, sate our love for earthly things.

We don’t trick, manipulate—simply say yes
when offered our due share as conquerors, kings,
and with grace, tip our crowns as we beg, bless
us, sate our love for earthly things.

Jennifer Perrine is the author of three books of poetry: No Confession, No Mass (2015), In the Human Zoo (2011), and The Body Is No Machine (2007). Find out more about her at .

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