...the waste sad time...
by Sandra Kohler

It’s where we live.  It’s what we have
to make a life of.  St. Ursula takes off
her crown and her slippers, sets them
at the foot of her bed, climbs in, pulls
the covers up to her chin and goes to
sleep in her red room like a child who’s
been tucked in.  It’s the sleep she sleeps
before the angel walks through the door,
like a mother checking on a child, bringing
the terrible news of her future.  It’s all
the evenings, all the nights when no one
comes through the door, when morning
arrives without transforming knowledge,
when the certainties and assays of dream
vanish with the copper dawn, the rose
resumption of another sunrise.  You rise
and put on the slippers, warm to your
feet.  The crown, heavy on your brow,
is the burden of making another day.


Sandra Kohler is the author of three collections of poetry: The
Country of  Women
(Calyx Books, 1995), The Ceremonies of
, winner of the 2002 AWP Award Series in Poetry
(University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003), and
Improbable Music
(Word Press, 2011).  Over the past thirty years, her poems have
appeared in journals including
The Southern Review, The
American Poetry Review
, The Gettysburg Review, Slant,
Prairie Schooner, The New Republic, Beloit Poetry Journal,
The Missouri Review, and The Colorado Review.

On “...the waste sad time...”:
This poem comes from my having seen Vittorio Carpaccio’s
wonderful series of paintings on the Life of St. Ursula (now
in the Accademia in Venice) which he based on stories in the
Lives of the Saints (Legenda Aurea).  The
particular painting
the poem refers to is the one in which Saint Ursula has a
dream which forewarns her of the martyrdom she will suffer.  
The angel coming to her bedside is bringing that dream.  It’s
a serene and domestic scene which contrasts wonderfully
with the pageantry and the violence of other paintings in the
series, and I fell in love with its tender details.

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 8, Number 2
(Fall 2013)

Copyright © 2013
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.

T.S. Eliot, “Burnt Norton”