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          "For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand." --Psalm 84:10, NKJV

          * * * * *

          Four Walls

          There are three sides
          to every story:
          what was,
          what will be,
          and the collision
          in between.
          Yet in this
          beginning, plot
          and end
          is but a
          single thread
          in the veil of
          the Holy--
          it is one

          * * * * *

          I. Story

          "First bits and crumbs of the piece come and gradually join together in my mind; then the soul getting warmed to the work, the thing grows more and more, and I spread it out broader and clearer, and at last it gets almost finished in my head, even when it is a long piece, so that I can see the whole of it at a single glance in my mind, as if it were a beautiful painting or a handsome human being; in which way I do not hear it in my imagination at all as a succession -- the way it must come later -- but all at once as it were. It is a rare feast. All the inventing and making goes on in me as in a beautiful strong dream. But the best of all is the hearing of it all at once." --Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
          * * * * *

          The Story

          To tell the story.
          That was the reason
          for being there,
          so the reporter said.
          If that is legacy
          it is because
          it is given
          In the end
          what we leave
          is our story,
          the heart of
          the matter,
          the heart given

          * * * * *


          Like all good
          story tellers
          he told the stories
          with a smile,
          delighted at
          the simple things
          that are the vessels
          for the deeper places
          in the heart.
          Blessed by
          the grace found
          in the brighter moments
          as the darker places
          in our lives,
          he would rather
          laugh and smile
          with the sinners
          than wear the airs
          of a lofty saint.

          Here was someone
          with whom
          you could
          sit in a circle,
          legs crossed
          and head cocked,
          with a child's
          eyes of wonder,
          straining to hear
          each word
          as if life
          at that moment
          depended on the
          nouns and verbs.
          And in these stories
          it did.

          Like St. Francis
          before him,
          he blessed the animals
          and preached
          as sincerely to
          those with soft ears
          as those with hard teeth
          and claws,
          remembering each
          one's name
          with an interest,
          as if we were his own.
          And so
          we were.

          In this place
          we are the flock
          resting about
          this simple hearth,
          this simple table,
          in a neighborhood
          without roots,
          the nomads of
          the urban outland,
          we are gathered by
          this shepherd,
          the gentle face
          of the creed,
          and our

          * * * * *


          She is standing
          at the doorway
          of the old
          white church,
          with her cane
          between the
          It is dusk,
          the shadows
          and we cannot
          which way
          her head
          is turned,
          what comes
          or goes is
          lost in the
          So much life
          has made
          the journey
          between this nave
          and altar,
          the rug is worn
          with turns
          of time.
          This is the
          house of obelisks,
          that mark
          the date and mile.

          We are talking
          in the breezeway
          on a summer
          morning after mass
          she sits on a cold
          gray slab of bench,
          I am squatting low
          so she can hear.
          She wants to know
          about the new church
          we may build,
          she who saw the
          and I so want to tell.
          I say we set a goal,
          a challenge to
          the artist
          whose work must
          the people onward
          as a magnet from
          so the old
          white church
          is left behind.
          With an arch of
          eye and brow
          she says a broken
          we can never
          leave these walls
          too much
          of her life
          was written
          These are the
          defining markers,
          as clear as
          the corner stones
          upon which
          these clapboard
          walls are set.

          In the spirit
          of a breezeway,
          at the end
          of a story,
          in silence
          we rise and go
          on to the beginning.
          * * * * *

          "I see, hear, and know simultaneously,
          and learn what I know as if in a moment." --Hildegard of Bingen

          At once

          I wonder
          about this
          seeing and
          hearing and
          all at once--
          that in the
          explosion and
          of the moment,
          it is caught
          in the throat
          of the poet
          who coughs
          and hacks at
          it until
          it blows free
          falling from
          Gabriel's trumpet
          with words
          not to fear.
          Yet when the
          poet looks at
          each instant
          each encounter
          as an opportunity
          to sense
          and write
          this density
          of life,
          I wonder
          whether those
          he meets will
          flee in terror
          at the endless
          prospect in
          the poet's

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Document last modified on: 06/22/2004

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