High Commission – a poem by Barbara Lydecker Crane

High Commission
       Christ of the Deesis, mosaic by an unknown artist,
	  Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, c. 1260

My workers toil for their daily pay;
they chisel glass and stone, mix grout, and set in	
this vast design, perhaps an inch each day.
Bits of beveled, golden glass let in
the glory of daylight to the gleaming background.
When set atilt, these tiny bits reflect
a mystic flicker that, by lamplit night,
evokes the realm where faithful souls expect
He dwells. Here He looms, with one hand lifted
to judge how worthy every life has been.  
Artistic bent does not mean I am gifted,
but art is what I give to God and men.
Earthly emperor, this work is now complete;
heavenly emperor, judge kindly when we meet.

Barbara Lydecker Crane, twice a Rattle Poetry Prize finalist, has received several awards for her sonnets. Her poems have appeared in Ekphrastic Review, First Things, Light, Measure, THINK, and many others.  Her fourth collection, You Will Remember Me, sonnets about artists and portrait paintings, will be published by Able Muse Press. 

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