wholly holy Holly

early morning, and drunk again,
at a café-bar high-window
I watched Holly stumble from the door
of the local ‘ice-dream’ parlour,
sallow skin, sunken dark-rimmed eyes –
jagged cheek bones, unkempt hair,
ragged, staggering – far past caring
this? not the Holly I remember –
not the high-wire ballerina
who danced life as carefree,  
as I danced too, some years ago,
but then duty’s chains imprisoned me
in my treasure chest of fantasy
her smile could draw sunflowers’ faces
from high-noon sun to gaze upon her
and genuflect in reverence
at her passing regal progress
are you that Holly who saved my life
stuck half-in, half-out, a window
giggling Nessun Dorma – breaking
my influenza whiskey stupor
while the kitchen blazed on fire?
I’m sorry, Holly, you must endure
the fate of every free-form saint
and *holy fool* in history
I’m sorry, Holly – you saved my life
I’m sorry, Holly – I can’t save yours
The *Holy Fool* or yuródivyy (юродивый) is the Russian version of foolishness for Christ, a peculiar form of Eastern Orthodox asceticism. The yurodivy is a Holy Fool, one who acts intentionally foolishly in the eyes of men.

© coolhermit 2023
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critique and comments welcome.
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Reading this, I see I have lived a sheltered life. I think you should go and save Holly. I would try if I could. Sounds as though she needs it.


If the N is not you, why have you written the poem in the first person?


Of course.


I have been both the Fool and the Holly at one time or another and I can appreciate the contrast as well as the construct here. Plus, it has a really nice little jaunting rhythm.


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