Kirby Olson studied poetry with Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso (among others) at Naropa University. His poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Poetry East, Chronicles, Cortland Review, and many other journals. He is a professor at SUNY-Delhi in the western Catskills.
When I was fifty I turned into a Christian after a half century of disbelief. This poem celebrates Jesus as better than Diogenes since he was able to find the honesty and humanity in virtually everyone he met, as opposed to the philosopher Diogenes, who could find it in no one.
Stars in the Early Morning
Their names are grown obscure:
Andromeda, Cassiopeia, Orion.
Each is an aria of disaster.
The power of the Testament is not to any
physical body, nor to any particular person,
as Paris had found his heaven in Helen.
His sisters raped and murdered by Greeks,
father stabbed on the throne,
brother Astyanax thrown from ruins.
Diogenes looked in vain with his lamp, but
Jesus was able to find humanity in the faces
of the obscure people who lived in byways.
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