We have a cat named Ben who doesn’t wear a collar
so he stays indoors.
I know a saint named Ben whose picture's on a medal
that I wear outdoors.
I wear it for the safety, a bigger one we hang above the door
for superstitious reasons like a black cat crossing our path
that isn't ours, Ben is ours but Ben is brown not black and
Ben won't wear a collar so he stays indoors.
St Benedict of Nursia the patron saint of lots of things,
of remedies for poisoning, of evil witchcraft, suffering,
a patron saint of lots of things, of aggies, engineers,
spelunkers and those with fever near the gates of death.
He is the patron saint of gall stones but not kidney stones
if so his medal would have saved me from significant pain,
but still I wear his medal when I go out to keep myself
protected from whatever it is he protects us against.
before he became a good luck charm, before he was a
he lived in a cave in Italy in the year 400 a.d. where for
three years the townsfolk brought him food to eat and
talked him into coming out. No, not that kind of coming
he wasn’t gay, he was a priestly hermit who was celibate.
They put him in charge of a monastery when no one else
wanted the job, but when he made the rules that still stick
they didn’t want to listen so they tried to poison him twice
both unsuccessful. This is where he gets the nod for
Divine intervention saved the day, a raven stole the
poisoned bread and a spasm smashed the poisoned cup.
if they wanted him to go away they could have asked him
but I guess they needed a saint, someone to martyr, so
he went back to his cave and was promptly forgotten
until the Connecticut witch trials of 1647 when a captured
witch confessed that her powers were contained by a
conspicuous medal that she’d never seen before mounted
over doorways, and she heard the whispers of the
the medal was the medal of a saint they called St.
I can personally attest that the medal is quite unique with
Latin inscriptions on both the front and the back. On one side
of the medal he stands and holds the holy rules, at his feet
a raven and a broken cup. An inscription on the medal reads:
“May we at our death be fortified by his presence”
Flip it over and you’ll see:
C S S
N D S M D
P M B
“May the holy cross be my light”
“Let not the dragon be my overlord”
“This is the cross of Father Benedict”
“yadda yadda yadda”
Along the outer edge it looks like this, strangely similar
to a Ouija board.
PAX for Peace
The rest is this:
“Begone Satan yadda yadda yadda
for evil is what you prefer yadda yadda
so drink your own poison yadda”
350 some years since its inception and the medals popularity
still flourishes. I reach down and finger the medal beneath
my t-shirt and I realize what the strangeness feels like.
It feels like witchcraft.
I guess I’ll wait and see if anything happens
before I pass judgment.
I hang it near our bed at night and while
our brown cat Ben likes to bat it around.
John Kross is an aspiring poet working and living in Dallas,Texas. He has been published here several times before in 2012 and 2013 including the 2012 best of antholgy "Storm Cycle". You can read more from him under the pen name "V" at www.hellopoetry.com