September 3, 2015
Poetry Friday--"St. Lawrence: Assus Est"
© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.
This is the first saint I have come across who is portrayed as having a sense of humor!
The tale of St. Lawrence of Rome is one of defiance and humor. Lawrence, a deacon of the Church of Rome in 258, was keeper of the Church's treasury. He was responsible for giving alms to the poor. Lawrence's excessive generosity led the Emperor Valerian to suspect that the Church had vast stores of riches. Valerian called upon Lawrence to bring the Church's treasure before him ("render unto Caesar" and all that). Lawrence asked for time to gather it. What he did then was to gather the poor, the sick, and the infirm. These people he presented as the Church's "treasures." Needless to say, the officials were not pleased. Lawrence was martyred. He was placed upon a gridiron (Lawrence is holding it in his right hand, although most of it has been cut out of the picture) and roasted over hot coals until he is reported to have said, "I am well done. Turn me over!"
I've recounted the legend rather briefly, and as expected, there's more to the story. The whole "roasting" incident may be the result of a "typo." The typical description of a martyr was inscribed Passus est meaning "he suffered," the "P" may have been accidentally left off on a description of Lawrence. The resulting Assus est can be translated as "he is roasted." It makes for a much better story than a simple beheading!
Here's the sound effect from the end of the poem.
So, how did this come about? I was playing with fire for the latest Spark challenge and I discovered the St. Lawrence story (after I found St. Florian, the patron saint of firefighters). He didn't fit with the response piece I was working on, but he sure does fit with the heaven and hell theme I've had going over the past few weeks! The response piece will be posted late tonight or early tomorrow. It's got lots of fire in it, too, but no saints!
Linda at Teacher Dance will be hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up. Enjoy the Labor Day weekend!