Thursday, January 12, 2017

Poem: Ora Pro Nobis

This is my first published work - that is to say, my first written piece to appear in a publication (Word Fountain, The Literary Magazine of the Osterhout Free Library, Winter 2017 issue.) I have previously had the tremendous honor of having my work appear on the buses of the Luzerne County Transit Authority as part of the Wilkes University / LCTA Poetry in Transit series, and I have of course published numerous pieces online on my own blog, Another Monkey. But this is the first time my work was submitted, selected, and published in a physical magazine that people could hold in their hands! Copies are limited but will be available at the Osterhout Library in Wilkes-Barre, PA. The entire contents of the magazine will be made available online at some point.

Ora Pro Nobis
Harold Jenkins

Between the worn wooden pews
parishioners in a double row
approach the priest to take Communion
rocking with each step

Fewer every year
thinner, fatter, grayer, balder
fewer baptisms, more funerals

No more bazaars to mark the end of summer
with Polkas and bingo and beer
No more ancient pipe organ playing the hymns
sung in the tongue of the people who built this place

Storybook saints line the walls
silent in their stained-glass windows

A dragon hides behind the robes of a Pope
looks warily at the armored figure in the next window over
Does he wonder what fate awaits him
when the pews are empty and the organ falls silent?

He does not. He is colored glass and paint.
It does not matter to him
if in a few years he is a storybook window in a church far away
or shards of colored glass in the rubble
of a church that used to be.