Kinga

Kinga (1224-1292) is the patron saint of Poland, honored for providing salt for her subjects. The discovery occurred when she threw her engagement ring into a local mine shaft, finding it a country away in a block of Polish salt.

A reluctant bride, I bring no sparkling dowry,

just precious salt distilled from Miocene seas –

power against the devil’s terror.

 

I want no kingdom, no spouse.

Boleslav and I vow chastity

until his death when I may become

the poor nun I’ve always been at heart.

I withdraw to cloister’s shadows, no monarch,

no one special.

 

But grateful miners, threatened by gas, collapse,

cold death in labyrinthine darkness,

shape me into a salt statue

at the bottom of the shaft.

Larger even than life, I’m crowned again,

my robe etched in scrolls, hair laced

about my face, more a goddess’ face

than this nun’s plainness.

Queened.

 

My statue leans forward, palms open

to the salt miner kneeling before me.

He returns my ring encased in a crystal block,

(as if I could want such sparkling now).

Espoused again.

 

They also construct for me an underground salt cathedral,

with altars, crucifixes, rock salt chandeliers.

Illuminated like a manuscript, it tells my story

as they must tell it.

Renowned.

 

My pipe organ prayers go with them,

protect them through the zig zag kilometers

of the deepest tunnels.

Sainted, at their service.