From La Pucelle: The Epic Of Joan Of Arc Poem by Ali Alizadeh

From La Pucelle: The Epic Of Joan Of Arc

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––Listen my Prince. This is important. I could feel
the dew setting on the leaves and petals of lilies and camellias.

I was aware of the soil’s moisture being
absorbed by the roots of hollies and cedars. I could smell

the aroma of blooming jasmine and carnations. I could
taste the sweetness of wild berries and apples that hadn’t

ripened yet. My finger could already stroke the creeping
ivy that had not yet covered the oaks. And the immense moon

the heart of the vast mother nature, vitality
desire filling the universe from it…by God I was

so terrified to be there, alone, a lost little girl
in the presence of such greatness, and the white circle

was getting larger, expanding, devouring me
I was drowning in the heavenly brightness. What was

happening to me? The moon was now the shape
of an infinitely huge person’s face. No, don’t look at me

like that! By God I’m not lying. I saw this
huge face before me, a ghost, or a fairy, or a monster

whose eyes were a hundred stars, whose smile
the entire horizon, and I was on my knees by now

shivering, about to faint. I was screaming. Brightness
above the thing’s head, I couldn’t tell horns or

* * *

halo, glistening. Had a gigantic sword. And I
closed my eyes. I can’t believe how horrified I was. I thought

this thing, a demon, would kill me with its sword
but when I closed my eyes I saw, my Prince, I tell you

the truth: I saw houses burning, cities burning, countries
burning I saw hundreds of hundreds of soldiers of an unholy

empire destroying me, destroying the village, and
the whole world. I can’t remember if I saw anything more

that night before I collapsed after the first visitation
by Catherine of Alexandria herself, Matron Saint of Maidens.

––Well, no, I’m not mad. That’s what Mama thought
after one of my brothers found me passed out. She

became so angry. And vicious. When she found out
I hadn’t been to the stupid ceremony at the Hermitage

she lost her mind. She first broke a wooden ladle
on my back, then started whacking me with a broom

screaming: Jeannette, useless girl. Sick girl.
Shameful girl. After all I’ve done for you. Of course

I didn’t tell her what exactly I’d seen in the woods.
She would’ve said I was possessed by the Devil. I cried

for so many days, weeks, because now beautiful
Marguerite, all my friends, had been confirmed

as young women, started going to the village dances
without their parents, and they never took me. I don’t

know why I was all of a sudden so hated by everyone
and I kept getting so, so many pimples . . . no, I won’t

* * *

bore you with that my Prince. But you need to know
that I started going to the church frequently, and

started praying to the statue of Saint Catherine. I took
flowers, bread and wool to the alter, fasted every Friday

and said Pater Noster, Ave Maria and Credo in Mass
every Sunday. I confessed to our priest every week, then

every day. I spoke to Saint Catherine when there was
no one in the church. I knelt on the altar floor in the weak,

shimmering light of the votive candles and begged Her
to guide me. I wanted Mama to love me again. I wanted

Marguerite to stop flirting with idiot boys and ask me
over to her house to spin wool. And the serene statue

of Saint Catherine remained silent and looked on
as I cried. I tried to imagine what it’d be like if Her spirit

could hear me. I didn’t know I had just been visited by
the noble Saint. I was so sad, my Prince, so lonely

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