Tuesday, November 29
Shadow

St. Jeanne d’Arc, Oil on Canvas

Photo by Gaebriele Gutierrez/THE FLAME

Once during the last tick of the eve

I crossed the gate 

of Miguel de Benavides

and pathed to the basalt shelf 

where the French tome

laid.

 

‘Jeanne d’Arc,’

it was written on the foremost page,

and I had felt her

speak to me

with a gentle voice.

 

She intrigues me.

“Providence and the saints Michael, 

Margaret, and Catherine,”

a cursive text implied.

“Halfway to my bittersweet life,

I met them 

and from the depths of my heart 

they announced my fate.”

 

What fate?

I happened to ask.

 

“Defender of France,”

 

The ink and oil begged for keen eyes;

metal on metal, it was,

for a rusted breastplate

and a pair of glorified shoulderguards,

smithed in the city of Tours

by King Charles VII,

concealed what was once

a peasant’s doublet

one that could rival

even the grandest Englishman’s

livery.

 

The lady, whose dented helmet

denied her beige hair

from the storms,

hailed from Domrémy.

Now, she stood among 

the soil of Orléans;

her hundred-25 pound body sustained 

by trousers so tight and collapsed steel boots

and her waist sleeved by a paneled skirt

adorned with the insignia of France

and lacerated on one side.

 

Alas, the banner she bore in one hand;

a white linen cloth with fleur-de-lis tapestry

enclosed by Christ’s divine judgment,

and the sword of St. Catherine

on the other

carved a thousand year’s worth 

of Catholic prestige.

 

I closed the opus and pathed

to the arch of the centuries

with a graced heart. F – Franz Zoe Stoelzl T. Baroña

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