"The Seventh Seal"

Khashayar Mohammadi

Khashayar Mohammadi is an Iranian-born, Toronto-based poet, writer, translator, and photographer and the author of the poetry chapbooks Moe’s Skin (ZED press, 2018) and Dear Kestrel (knife | fork | book, 2019). He is currently working on a full-length collaborative poetry manuscript with Toronto poet Terese Pierre, as well as a full length poetry manuscript of his own.

“‘The Seventh Seal’ is based on Ingmar Bergman’s medieval film of the same name and aims to explore its ideologies.”

     a parting of bruised clouds
     sunrays pierce the opacity of the ocean
     waves sand down rocks into mirrors
     the sun shines so the devil can find us in daylight
     the eloquence of death leads to a vision
     a naked soul atop a naked body shrivelled
     from a plague painted on frescoes
     the companionship of spirits in church
     where god eludes all extended hands
     but at the edge of life one can peer
     into the abyss and beckon silence
     the wonder that is the body
     pulsating with premature life
     and a miasma punitive to all
     a crusade chastens idealists
     thuribles purify the holy path
     and a plague shrivels the realists
     flagellants who pour their blood
     into bile to keep away witches
     purge black death by fire
     the insignificance of another dusk
     when death excepts no knight or jester
     a drop of water for the witch
     before alighted at the stake
     not to console the dying
     but to console all who live
     and after the storm: dappled in sunlight
     a look of contentment while death hangs
     on a branch by the troubadours’ tent
     a little pleasure for the townsfolk
     before thuribles lead the way again