The Emperor Decides to Kill Catherine

I cannot compel myself
to make reason of her.
Why does she squander
so many hours of each
finite day, so many hours spent
ministering to dead persons?
She prays most of the day
to people who died,
saints of this odd sect . . .

She must bestow this time
on me, give me this ardent
attention. For I can surely
fulfill the role of saint; I can
give her answers to any
question she might ask
about living and dying.
Certainly an emperor
knows more about these
shades of man and woman
than a dead person, and I
could make her body
feel much more riveted
than any stirrings
of prayer might provide.

Yet . . . I fear her stubbornness
whispers to me how all our own gods
are now dead—our gods who lived

forever and received our own most
piercing, but misplaced, desires to live
forever with them . . . our gods!

So now, do all gods, once so omnipotent,
fall dead somewhere in the progress of time?

history of souls second edition

history of souls by Ward Kelley.

Author, poet, and lyricist Ward Kelley is now offering a second version of "history of souls". This book offers poetry that encompasses a number of themes:

Magical realism: Literature that looks at fables, myths, and allegory in the rational world.

Reincarnation: The philosophical and/or religious concept that the soul or spirit, after death, can begin a new life in a new body to learn new experiences and gain knowledge.

Metaphysics: A traditional branch of philosophy concerned with nature of being and the world that surrounds it.

Saint Catherine of Alexandria
Another great article about Saint Catherine of Alexandria can be found at History of Women.

Authors Notes about The Emperor Decides to Kill Catherine
Catherine of Alexandria, (circa 213), was a Roman Catholic saint, whose beauty so impressed the Roman Emperor Maximian that he offered to overlook her refusal to sacrifice to the gods if she would only submit to his desires. Catherine rejected his overtures, saying she was already the bride of Christ, and even converted the fifty philosophers Maximian convened to change her mind. The emperor beheaded the philosophers, then attempted to have Catherine broken on a spiked wheel, however it miraculously shattered. Instead Maximian had her beheaded, yet when he did, milk flowed from her severed neck. Where this tale was highly popular in the medieval West, most historians think it is probable Catherine never existed. Joan of Arc, though, did not concur with such skeptics; Catherine was one of the three saints Joan claimed appeared to her to offer advice in her military endeavors.

Catherine of Alexandria Gallery

According to the traditional narrative, Catherine was the daughter of Constus, the governor of Alexandrian Egypt during the reign of the emperor Maximian (286 – 305). From a young age she had devoted herself to study. A vision of the Madonna and Child persuaded her to become a Christian. When the persecutions began under Maxentius, she went to the emperor and rebuked him for his cruelty. The emperor summoned fifty of the best pagan philosophers and orators to dispute with her, hoping that they would refute her pro-Christian arguments, but Catherine won the debate. Several of her adversaries, conquered by her eloquence, declared themselves Christians and were at once put to death.


history of souls” poetry book is divided into four parts:

Part one is called “Souls Alive” and contains poetry about famous people and/or events. There are poems about Joan of Arc, Sylvia Plath, Xerxes I ( a king of Persia), Akhenaton (a pharaoh of Egypt and husband of Nefertiti), Sandra Jones, Daniel DeFoe, Leo Tolstoy, and more…

Part two “Souls in Love”, Part three “Dead Souls”, and Part 4 “Reverse Prayer”, along with a special bonus chapter of lyrics inspired by history of souls by Ward Kelley and Don Whitaker album Gnarled Bones. Ward Kelley’s music business has grown into Wardco Studios, and the music uses many these poems as inspirations for lyrics and the music written for those lyrics. Listen free at

Ward Kelley has seen his stories and poems appear in hundreds of journals worldwide. He is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. His full biography, awards, and publications. Follow Ward Kelley’s Amazon Author’s page, which includes his blog posts.

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