THE TOWER OF BABEL by Joseph Castorino

Inspired by Frans Francken II’s masterpiece



The people were far more

advanced in technology than

their predecessors, and they

built a tower soaring to the skies;

their minds were filled with

grand new dreams of progress,

and each of them envisioned

a great new world in which

their creative ingenuity

would supply all of their needs --

they no longer needed God.

The Spirit slowly circled overhead,

saddened that He had been

forgotten by the people,

so He sighed deeply, wishing

His children to know how much

they needed Him, wishing

them to know how greatly and

how passionately He loved them;

so He withdrew and gave them

what they wanted: independence --

and then they babbled like idiots.

Why are dust and ashes proud?

Why is it that we accomplish

great things, and then we

forget the One who gave us

the gifts in the first place?

Even stubborn donkeys

understand that although

they wear a very beautiful

diamond-studded saddle,

it has absolutely nothing

to do with them.

PROVERB 1 by Joseph Castorino

Mr. Patience is the peaceful and

  joyful friend of the Lord Jesus;

Mr. Rushing is the worried and

  troubled slave of the black devil.

THE DELUGE by Joseph Castorino

Inspired by Francis Danby’s masterpiece


Far, far away,

on the stormy grey sea,

Noah’s grand wooden ark

slowly and gently bobs

up and down, up and down,

in the waves of Divine Mercy,

but as I turn to the right,

my heart stops when I see

dark cascades of rain all around,

pouring madly out of the turbulent

black clouds like cool liquid lava.


I stand atop what was once a tall

mountain, surrounded by the

devastating deluge and flood,

and clusters of screeching

men and women encircle me,

clinging like crabs to the wet rocks,

but many have already fallen

into the swirling sea below and

clutch desperately to the feeble

branches of submerged oak trees,

hoping the tempest will cease.


Only hours later, I’m the only

survivor, but I won’t last much

longer since the water is up to my

waist, and it is more and more

difficult to maintain my hold of the

wet boulder I’ve been sitting on all

day, and as I hopelessly look

around, I only see grey water and

black skies, and the relentless rain

that brings with it God’s justice.


OLD FAITHFUL by Joseph Castorino


I’m nothing more than

a hole in the ground,

and nobody notices me,

and I’m okay with that.

But when I receive the

Body of Christ, an invisible

spring of living water leaps

up out of my peaceful soul.

These crystal clear waters

of pure love surge upwards,

with unbounded freedom and joy,

praising the King of Heaven.

TO SANT' ANTONIO DI PADOVA by Joseph Castorino

They knew you as a Franciscan friar,

And your wise words lit in them a fire;

You preached to the fish when men wouldn’t hear,

They leaped from the water, filled with good cheer;

Then some envious men poisoned your cup,

They stared, aghast, when you drank it all up;

Before you heretics always cower,

Since through you God shows His mighty power;

When we really feel we have lost our mind,

Your passionate prayers help us Jesus find.

THE ANIMALS ENTERING Noah's ark by Joseph Castorino

Inspired by Jacopo Bassano’s masterpiece

Old Noah and his family,

shunned and mocked by

their know-it-all neighbors,

diligently gather the animals

into the cozy confines of

the grand wooden ark;

when all are on board and

they lock up the vessel,

from very high in the sky

a peaceful dove looks down and

the ark looks like a giant oyster,

protecting its treasure from

the swiftly advancing storm.

PRAYER + SURRENDER = LOVE + MERCY by Joseph Castorino

This equation is like a golden key,

That will certainly set our spirits free;

Prayer prepares the soul for God’s holy gifts,

While surrender cleanses and also sifts;

These open the door to true heartfelt love,

Which only comes from the good God above;

When love is tested in the deep dark night,

In the morn it shines as mercy so bright.

ADAM AND EVE by Joseph Castorino

Inspired by Tiziano Vecellio’s masterpiece



As the horned serpent

seductively smiles at

the foolish humans,

Eve dreams about

becoming a goddess,

and Adam hungers for

greatness and glory;

their teeth tear the flesh

of the juicy fruit -- and, oh!

the intense sweetness

and overwhelming delight!

but very suddenly they

shudder and convulse

in deadly disobedience,

and their souls are poisoned

by the black sugar of sin.

THE GARDEN OF EDEN by Joseph Castorino

Inspired by Thomas Cole’s masterpiece

Adam and Eve gratefully gaze

in awe and wonder at the

beauty of God’s holy creation;

beyond the sublime peace

of the verdant meadow and

the fresh tropical fruit trees

that lovingly embrace it,

a whispering waterfall sparkles

like aquamarine crystal in

the warm welcoming sun

and gracefully pours into

the pristine lake below;

rising majestically behind it

is a towering mountain of rock

that stands in stately grandeur,

piercing the serene blue sky,

joyfully pointing to the realm

of the Heavenly Homeland.

THE CREATION OF ADAM by Joseph Castorino

Inspired by Michelangelo’s masterpiece

The Father of Freedom reaches

across the atmosphere,

accompanied by His angels

which are clustered closely

in the blessed bouquet

of His bountiful love;

Adam is awestruck by the

generosity of the good God,

grateful for the gift of life,

and his eyes fill with tears

as he beholds the beauty of

the Compassionate Creator.

THE VINE by Joseph Castorino

You are The Vine,

and I am a little branch.

When I am proud,

I stubbornly cut myself

off from the Vine,

and I remain in self-love,

and without your grace,

my branch dries out

and my fruit shrivels up,

as my soul slowly dies.


But when I am humble,

I remain in your love,

and your delicious grace

surges through me and

thus my fruit sweetens,

as I am born again.

I am just a little branch,

but you are The Vine.

CONQUERED BY THE DIVINE MERCY by Joseph Castorino

Dark tempests savagely surged

through the sullen black sky,

searching for saints to devour,

desperately trying to demolish

and destroy the City of Light;

but the valiant Church Militant

launched their weapons of war,

and their faithful, fervent prayers

speared through the startled sky,

piercing it like holy missiles;

The Divine Mercy shone through,

in all His dazzling brilliance,

with great power and glory,

and the stunned storm clouds

retreated into the Great Abyss.

THE RESURRECTION by Joseph Castorino

I turn around and before me you stand,

one whose robe is dazzlingly white,

As you speak my name and say “Mary,”

you forever shatter my deep dark night;

With great love, you bestow your peace upon me,

through your wonderfully warm brown eyes,

Your merciful smile cheers my heart,

so that my soul can most sweetly arise;

In the joyful breeze of the Holy Spirit,

your flowing hair very gently swirls,

In my heart I totally surrender to you,

and for you this is a treasure of pearls.

THE CRUCIFIXION by Joseph Castorino

In a shadow of deep darkness, the Light

of the world hangs crooked on the cross,

A jagged crown of razor-thin thorns is

thrust maliciously into His throbbing head;

Bright-red blood and the fickle crowd’s

sour spittle trickle into His stinging eyes,

He licks His cracked lips, and He tastes

the bold bitter flavor of blood.

The Roman soldiers’ wild whips tore

and radically ripped Jesus’ holy flesh,

And now the sticky crusted wounds cling

to the weatherbeaten wood and ooze;

Knife-like nails puncture His hands and feet,

and make them look like cored apples,

His shoulders slump down, crushed under

the weight of every sin in human history.

The soldiers hellishly hammered the nails

into Jesus’ flesh, as if He were an animal,

Indescribable pain blasted through the

bones of His body like dynamite;

He now surrenders His body, mind, soul,

and spirit to the will of His Father,

He lovingly practices what He preached,

and He prays for His persecutors.

Jesus is high up, as if atop an isolated

island, surrounded by a sea of hate,

A cacophonous chorus of insults assails

His ears, and the smell of sin is in the air;

His mother, living in the dark night of

unknowing, silently waits and watches,

She kneels in total surrender, while a

sword of sorrow slashes her heavy heart.

In the afternoon, Golgotha is enveloped

in a mysterious murky darkness,

Then, when Jesus dies, the earth quakes

in violent anger at the murder of its Creator;

Rumbling and roaring, buildings catastrophically

crash and crumble to the ground,

The terrifying temblor forces the sanctuary’s

curtain to explosively burst apart.

That mysterious murky darkness remains

in the hearts of Jesus’ faithful followers,

Their entire worlds are seriously shaken,

and they are stunned and stupefied;

But on the third day, the nebulous fog

of uncertainty will finally dissolve,

On the third day, a heavenly ray of Light

will come, far brighter than the sun.

THE AGONY OF UNREQUITED LOVE by Joseph Castorino

I love you, I love you

so very much,

more than you

can possibly imagine,

yet you carelessly

turn your back on me

and you ignore me,

living your busy life

as if I never existed;

now I kneel here

in this olive garden,

with my warm hands

clasped tightly together,

so deeply and so greatly

in love with you,

and my heart is breaking

because I want to share

my life with you,

my heart is nearly broken

because I love you,

and I painfully weep

hot tears for you,

and my sweat turns into

drops of blood --

all because of you.

CARRYING MY CROSS by Joseph Castorino

Carrying my cross,

I take lumbering steps

up the steep mountain;

I grumble with every step,

like Job, wondering why

the Lord is asking me

to shuffle along, dragging

this heavy wood with me

wherever I go.


But then I come to

a dangerously deep

crevasse that threatens

to end my journey,

and even with a

giant Herculean leap,

I know that I would fall

down, down, down,

into the black throat

of the abyss below.


Suddenly, a white Dove

darts right past me,

causing me to jump back

from the edge of the cliff;

as I do so, the cross falls

forward so that its top

now rests on the other side,

forming a wooden bridge.


After I carefully crawl

to the other side,

I look back at the cross,

wondering if I should

kick it down over

the edge of the cliff,

but, instead, I choose

to slowly pick it up,

embrace it, and

faithfully follow

in the footsteps of Jesus.

TO POPE BENEDICT XVI by Joseph Castorino

As you bashfully smile,

you extend both arms

and wiggle your fingers:

your welcoming wave

is a gentle greeting to

the pilgrims at St. Peter’s.

A prudent theologian,

you write the most

eloquent of encyclicals;

a classical pianist,

you wisely speak about

true beauty and true art.

In your own quiet way

you shepherd the flock,

for you’re a very holy man;

you’re an obedient son,

a simple man of Love,

a humble genius.

THE DARKNESS OF DOOM by Joseph Castorino

Act I

There was midnight madness

in the heart of darkness,

where lustful lovers caroused

and burned with wild passion,

and although they were

warned by pilgrims who

were on their way to Rome,

they lived the philosophy

of carpe diem:

they could always repent

tomorrow;

but early in the morning

on the very next day,

an event took place

that forever changed

the world of Pompeii:

it was August 24, 79 AD, and

proud Pompeii was bathed

in warm peaceful sunshine

when the earth began to quake

to the awakening heartbeat

that began to stir deep inside of

the voluptuous Vesuvius,

and here and there the roof tiles

of the stately city of Pompeii

undulated in a rhythmic motion,

up and down, and up and down,

before resting quietly

and slumbering again,

as Vesuvius silently and stealthily

yawned a slow stream of

thin white smoke into the

clear blue sky.

Act II

By the afternoon,

there was a light veil

of white smoke that now

draped Vesuvius’ verdant body,

but when she suddenly and

violently erupted in anger,

belching coal-colored smoke

from her crater’s trembling lips

and spewing it high into

the pale blue sky,

it was only a matter of seconds

before flaming black rocks,

like Mephistophelian meteorites,

revengefully rained down

from the swiftly darkening sky,

smashing the roof tiles and

crushing the marble statues

above the villas’ courtyards;

meanwhile, the stunned citizens

scrambled and stumbled around

as the vigorous heartbeat

of the vain Vesuvius

pounded powerfully,

and a cataclysmic earthquake

ripped through Pompeii:

the sleeping giant

was now fully awake;

as the terrified men and women

raised their wild eyes

to the sullen sky,

they screamed like savages

and cursed their pagan gods

for punishing them,

and they spat in the air

at their pathetic gods.

Act III

Several hours later,

above the hellish rubble

of this humbled city,

the black sun approached the

black horizon and ominous clouds

suffocated the helpless sky:

Pompeii wailed in pain

and writhed woefully

as the victorious Vesuvius,

bathed in the seductive

red glow of liquid lava,

relentlessly embraced the

city in her hot wrath,

and electric bolts of

volcanic lightning danced

like convulsive demons

and lit up the murky sky

as ashen rain fell feebly

to the flaming ruins below;

maimed dogs howled in horror

at the shockingly surreal and

apocalyptic spectacle,

while the lonely human survivors,

their psyches severely shattered,

huddled together for cover

under the crumbling columns

that were sinking in a sea of

charcoal-gray ashes.

Act IV

As the sun slowly rose

the next morning,

the new day dawned with

a deep deafening silence,

and the sickly sun shuddered

as it peered through the

broken black clouds,

lamenting the loss of the

once grand city of Pompeii;

as the scattered survivors

clutched ever so tightly to

their shredded sliver of hope,

it appeared that perhaps the

volcanic storm had finally

exhausted itself,

and the remaining citizens,

with empty expressions

on their blank faces,

slowly and weakly

began the process of

putting the splintered pieces

of their lives back together again;

but in the distance

they suddenly heard a

thunderous roar that

rapidly and frighteningly

crescendoed as it drew nearer,

sounding very much like

a stampede of the gods;

with great trepidation,

the people lifted their

bloodshot eyes and they saw a

massive wall of

whirling gray clouds --

as tall as Vesuvius herself --

rushing madly along the

surface of the ground and

coming right towards them;

it paused momentarily,

as if trying to catch its breath,

before making one last

diabolical attack upon its enemy;

then in a twinkle of time,

the voracious cloud of hot ash

charged through and hungrily devoured

the crumpled carcass

of pitiful Pompeii.

Act V

As Time drearily dragged the

morning into afternoon,

the poor Pompeians

were forever frozen

and cemented into history,

buried alive in a twelve-foot

blizzard of blazing ashes;

the solitary sun looked down

sadly upon the waveless

gray ocean of volcanic ash,

and Pompeii was nothing more

than a desolate wasteland --

even the powerful Vesuvius

was left seriously crippled,

with her cone blown off

by the explosiveness of her fury;

when the news of this event finally

reached the imperial city of Rome,

Pope Cletus gathered for mass

with his flock and, together,

they fervently prayed for

the souls of the victims who perished

in the very dark tragedy of

the doomed city of Pompeii.

THE CHEMISTRY OF REVOLUTIONS by Joseph Castorino

A Circular Poem with No Beginning and No End

revolution?

it all starts when the

emotional electrons of

selfishness and fear

crash and collide,

thereby causing a chain reaction

that sparks the pulsating protons

and irascible ions of

savage seething anger and of

horribly hellish hate,

and this in turn ignites the

molecules of misery that

electrically explode into

woeful wailing wars and

dreadful devastating death;

but the question is this:

will there ever be

an end to

TO JESUS THROUGH MARY by Joseph Castorino

A DIVINE MERCY PRAYER

Dearest Mary, Queen of All Hearts,

Star of Love in the dark night,

Have mercy on us,

And on the whole world:

Pray for us!

Precious Jesus, King of the Universe,

Lord of Love and Lord of Light,

Have mercy on us,

And on the whole world:

I trust in You!