Monday, June 7, 2010


Cheap wine, Tokay, I think,
or Thunderbird, whatever fits
a plain brown paper bag;
plastic cup, reflecting the
light filtering the high
windows of the cathedral.
Drink, deeply.

Not a warm place; wind
slipping through cracks in
stone, cooling with stone’s
touch, brushing along stone
surface, light freezing through
glassy stains, shards of icy
color cast on icy stone.

Little side chapels, like silver
beads on a necklace or charms
on a child’s bracelet, decorated
with silence, sheens of
candlelight shimmering among
gilt-edged saints who
watch, not speaking.

Worshippers departed long ago
but tourists wander in awe.
Memory is not linear.


Anonymous said...

why have we made
this cold golden tomb
of our hearts
that brings us to
the worship of emptiness
where strangers hunger
for warmth and grace

Maureen said...

I have never forgotten walking in Rome and tucking into one of the many churches and being overwhelmed by the contrast between the wealth represented inside and the poverty clearly present outside. I've visited the great cathedrals in England, Italy, and France and many of the tiniest, humblest parishes. It is not hard to discern where the real glory of God is celebrated.

You've captured here what it means to miss the point. Icy stone indeed.

S. Etole said...

a chilly sadness in your words ...

Louise Gallagher said...

Memory is not linear -- and yet, the memories these places evoked in the people who frequented them were warm and soothing, they brought solace and comfort, a place to belong, community.

Chilly sadness -- nice.

Red Letter Believers said...

every old church I ever have stood in conjurs up images in my mind -- of the young who were baptized there, who grew old and were buried there. Generations. Memories. Lives changed.

Duane Scott said...

What Maureen said, I was going to. Except the churches I noticed this in were in Africa. Great poem!

Anonymous said...

Awesome. Memory is not linear... that is a very cool concept. Also, like the image of "light freezing". You've captured this one well.

Unknown said...

Solemn and deep...makes me glad for the presence of God that goes way beyond any structure.


Anne Lang Bundy said...

What poignant images and thoughts. Beautiful, Glenn.

"Memory is not linear." As worthy to note as a cathedral is majestic.

It was written by a woman, for mothers. But I think you'd appreciate for "The Invisible Woman" by Nicole Johnson, which speaks of the invisible men who labored on cathedrals for God's glory—remembered by Him alone.

L.L. Barkat said...

I liked the part about being decorated with silence. Sometimes I would like my life to be like that.

And memory not being linear. It is like the cathedral... a meandering, niche-filled place.

Sandra Heska King said...

I liked the decorated with silence part, too.

There is beauty, majesty, and awe in this picture. Yet it and your poem evoke emptiness and sadness in me.

You inspire me to try to write more poetry. It never comes out like this.