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Beneath majestic heights

public footsteps

ring a tapestry of sound.

Time surrenders  here,

hushed voices

slice through space.


In ancient plans

the sky has been considered,

clouds float across

ascending lengths of glass

not stained but clear

while high in the dome's  recesses

portholes angle to paradise.


Thick with prayers

stone walls are candle-bright

and from the altar

a swinging censer's breath coercive.

In the rising foment

of the moment's focussed ritual

saints hide their heads

in alcove darkness.


Amethyst Magazine, July 2021, Editor Sarah Law




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john short

Sun 3rd Oct 2021 00:12

Thanks for your comment Stephen. Have read a couple of your poems. Will read more.

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Stephen Gospage

Sat 2nd Oct 2021 16:31

Great. I love the idea of walls being 'thick with prayers'.

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john short

Sat 2nd Oct 2021 00:27

Thanks for reading and contributing feedback. I'm not religious either. I wrote this in the early 80s after visiting a lot of cathedrals in Portugal. I recently dug it out and gave it a few refinements. No religious opinions intended, I just wanted to capture the experience of walking inside a magnificent religious building and the awe and sense of peace that such places inspire. They seem to be both constructions of social control and evidence of human striving for nobler things.

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M.C. Newberry

Fri 1st Oct 2021 16:26

I am not a religious man but I admire hugely the way
any belief can produce such profoundly rewarding
buildings - the impressive memorials to their religious
inspiration; wonderful edifices of how Man can rise
above himself and create "glory" in the name of a
chosen god.
The words here adorn that reality....albeit with a caveat
about the use of "hushed" and
"sliced" in the same context. But
that's a personal view.

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