(This spectacular church is located in my boyhood home city of Newark, New Jersey. It sits majestically on a rise across the street from where I attended high school. My sister was married here more than fifty years ago. It is world renowned as both an architectural and ecclesiastical jewel. It’s always had a special place in my heart.)
Admit into transepts
Heaven’s own light
With agnostic rays
Refracted by doubts
Flying buttresses thrust
From chancel and nave
Through high gothic vaults
Three stained-glass rose panes
Compelling in scale
Adorn forceful façades
Carved from granite quartz stone
Dressed to tolerate sin
Baldacchino and pulpit
Fine-sculpted white marble
Pronounce sacred words
Steeped in mystery’s echo
Profane ears can hear
The Christ and His altar
Pink-born of Carrara
Host the Eucharist
Rapture that ruptures
What evil may linger
Eleven side chapels
Of indigenous ethnic
Eminent figures in the
Envelopes in welcome
Those hesitant hearts
Or incomplete souls
To share in the rites
Two magnificent towers
Pealing their calls
Across urban miles
Distracted by toil
Huge Roman bronze doors
Usher in thousands
To worship and pray
In this hallmark of art
In this landmark to faith
You took me there, Paul
Oh Sue, how glad that makes me.
I love the limestone clad-narthex and pink-born.
like so much about this…”Admit into transepts…Heaven’s own light…With agnostic rays..Refracted by doubts” …guess we have all doubted one time or other……and then “Host the Eucharist
Rapture that ruptures, What evil may linger”——yes, I have felt that peace the comes from sitting there in silence in the sanctuary…..You have said MUCH! and described the Basilica so well!
It has so much to say of its own. I tried to do it justice. Thank you.
So many great lines, really good ones, and operating on so many levels. Kudos!
It’s a complex subject. Thanks for making me feel like I caught some of it.
Reblogged this on Poesy plus Polemics.
Reblogged this on Eagle Eye Network.
thank you for sharing my poem with your readers
This one takes my breath not just away, Paul, but far beyond. The images pack enough power to bring me to my knees. You have captured that paradox of divinity intertwined with humanity. Thank you.
I deeply appreciate your generous comments, rita
Yes, you took me there and I felt the majestic hush–and yet I wish I could actually visit–how it pulls. I can’t even imagine being married there–was your sister’s wedding huge and grand?
it wasn’t huge, but grand indeed
What an amazing tribute.
I’m so glad you enjoyed this – thank you most kindly
As a Jersey guy, I know where this is!
my home town
I appreciate your description of faith and doubt, sin and salvation, all blending together in your words, in this place. Thank you.
sincerely grateful for your thoughtful comment
Wonderful ! it had me walking through Durham Cathedral (in the UK) Thank You !
H!, what a beautiful testimony to jewel still standing. Paul, as you enter Cathedral Basilica–in your silence–you must feel God and his Son Jesus Christ are with you. Thank You Lord
what a powerful mixture of the tangible and transcendent. beautiful.
I’m deeply touched by your lovely comment
A wonderful piece here at the start of Lent….(and thanks for Liking my Ash Wednesday prayer).
I lived in North Jersey for a number of years, know Newark well….. much like my own boyhood industrial New England mill town (Lawrence)… where sin and grace and forgiveness were real daily necessities.
Best and Blessings,
appreciate your thoughtful comments – God bless
amazing the treasures that exist in our very own neighborhoods!
old churches are especially wonderful
I lived in Newark for many years – a lovely tribute to one of its beauties.
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