The Art of Tea and Poetry

The Art of Tea and Poetry

The Metropolitan of Wallace Street


A few Baltic households remained,
Interspersed throughout the barrio:
Bodegas and the Roberto Clemente Center
Between churches built by Russians,
Swedes, and Lithuanians two generations ago.

Re-gentrification rolled slowly from the west
Around the Art Museum, heading
Block by block toward North Broad,
Adding another ingredient to the mix. 

In the 1600 block of Wallace Street
Gold-blazoned letters and Slavic cross
Announced the Holy Resurrection Cathedral
Inside the red-brick row house next to the
Vacant lot and music-blaring bodega.

From what once was a living room
The Divine Liturgy was served weekly to
Family and anyone who wandered in.
Metropolitan Trevor, Archbishop of Wallace Street
And renegade non-canonical Orthodox
Held forth with bargain-basement vestments,
A button-festooned miter and minimalistic icons

Late evening, humid or frigid, he walked
The nearby streets, consoling the
Derelict and drugged,
Pressing five dollar bills into hands,
Offering brief words of consolation,
A shooting star over a desperate earth.

During daylight standing with 
Those who tried to temper abuse
And ravages of urban living and
Herding the far-flung cats of
His nebulous jurisdiction. 

On my last visit, again pleading with me to
Follow his course in any way I chose,
Standing with him at the altar for
The first and last time
Presiding over a dwindling flock on
A sweltering August morning.

When newsletters and notes no longer to
The Land of Enchantment came
I called to learn why, never expecting to
Hear how cancer short-circuited 
Career and family to oblivion.
Halfway-reconciled to all he loved,
And to the God whose light nonetheless
Shone through the fully-human
Yet touched by the divine,
Metropolitan of Wallace Street
Asked for a cigar and soon
Passed from one life to the next.


Arthur Turfa © 2014


Arthur Turfa

Arthur Turfa is a poet who is originally from Pennsylvania, has lived in various parts of the United States and Germany and is currently living in South Carolina.  His poetry and other writings are heavily influenced by where he has lived, traveled, and by people he has met.
     Among his literary influences are the poetry of T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden and Rainer Maria Rilke and the prose of Thomas Mann, John Updike, and John Irving. His musical influences range from Handel to Zappa.
    Some of his poems have been published in print and e-zines around the world. He is an owner of Words on Fire which is a community on Google+. He is also an active member in other communities on G+. His first book of poems, “Places and Times, Reflected” will be released by eLectio Publishing in April 2015. 

About Arthur Turfa

Arthur Turfa is a poet who is originally from Pennsylvania, has lived in various parts of the United States and Germany and is currently living in South Carolina.  His poetry and other writings are heavily influenced by where he has lived, traveled, and by people he has met.
     Among his literary influences are the poetry of T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden and Rainer Maria Rilke and the prose of Thomas Mann, John Updike, and John Irving. His musical influences range from Handel to Zappa.
    Some of his poems have been published in print and e-zines around the world. He is an owner of Words on Fire which is a community on Google+. He is also an active member in other communities on G+. His first book of poems, “Places and Times, Reflected” will be released by eLectio Publishing in April 2015. 

© Frecklewood 2017, All rights reserved.

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© Frecklewood 2014, All rights reserved.