Canticle for the Banality of Romance

A Poem by C. Derick Varn

“Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.” – Arnaud Amalric

The dead are inarticulate even when they are in love. Hard to chat
without the meat of a tongue against the palate, although chatter
is still possible. My eye catches the hemophiliac’s surprise when
a brooch pinned accidentally to his chest lets love out, staining

his shirt with ever-thinning blood. We are the subtle singers of
love songs and worldly hymns, the choir masters’ have been
long absent from the world. There was a time when we listened
to each other as Echo, becoming nothing other than voice and longing,

reaching out to each other other without fingers to touch or hair
to run through. We castrated our longing, as if desire could end
desire, a desert made into a perfect world of light, wind, rock, and
ash. Then singers longed for women as if for God, longed for abstraction

beyond the sweat incarnation of the body, and if they found Jesus
in the bawdy of the trobar clus, we have known divine love like chasing
a woman. Each man seems on the prowl for a woman to write a song
about and as such they proclaim the age of the troubadours. Who is to blame

for all these burning Cathars around the romance and banal self-abuse
of courtly infatuation? Of course, everyone likes barbeques but the local
Heretics who have been soften by lack of justice and slowly rolling
of lenga d’òc off the tongue. The tremulous humming of a half-foreign

tongue espousing the tremulous quaking of a half-heretic religion, love
above love, god above god, flesh unmade and unsewn, what God hath
put together forever and eternally apart. One sings a tenso between
alpha and omega, between Occitania and France, between all fallen

matter and the word that comes out like wind. In lavish sweat, we have
found only a litany, in contradiction nothing but flame, our God has sorted
all the nations out and the Cistercian lit fires with those who would whisper
the consolamentum. Many singers wearing the sign of a yellow cross, the

dead sing about the winds and their justice is the voice. Our insomnia enfolds
us, it is the quiet that comes after. From the mixture of our bodies, from blood
that runs between us, once our memory darkens all that will be left of us is song,
the words being a forgotten language, our theology hacked apart by Bourbon King.


C. Derick Varn is a poet now living in Utah.  His first collection, Apocalyptics, is forth-coming from Unlikely Press in the summer of 2018. He writes poetry, teaches, podcasts on obscure topics, and thinks longingly about his prior travels in Egypt, Mexico, and South Korea.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s