Friday, June 25, 2010

Poem: Saint Pauls Chapel

Saint Paul's Chapel

Outside the walls are still dark,
ash-covered, the mark of tragedy
borne not proudly,
but as a reminder

of the suddenness of death, how
demolition and fire can
sweep from the sky no matter
where our pride.

Millions, yes, millions walk past
on the broad streets
lined with glass and steel and commerce.
Just past the green graveyard

a gaping hole marks the spot,
where soon,
a shining tower will rise,
high and defiant, a counterpoint

to this blackened chapel
with it's narrow doors and empty chairs,
waiting for the few to come
and pray.


I have been visiting New York City with my children the past two days and one of our stops was at "ground zero", the site of the former twin towers destroyed on 9-11. I was struck by the sameness of the spot. There is construction there now, and the ash that filled the air nearly a decade ago is gone. Only Saint Paul's chapel, next door to the site, still bears the mark of the tragedy. Inside the chapel is a beautiful, simple, colonial sanctuary, and it has a museum feel, with reminders not so much of the tragedy of 9-11, but of the rise of spirit that came of it, of the way people came back to their faith in the weeks and months afterwards.

It was quiet, a contrast to the bustle of the city, and surprisingly prayerful. And it is that image that I carry away from our two days.....

The picture is from inside the chapel. As always, you can click on it for a larger version.


1 comment:

Derrick said...

This is a lovely, peaceful poem, Tom, which says a lot in such simple words.