Thursday, September 30, 2004

Southwerk Parish

(A picturesque ruin opposite Bacon’s Castle on Route 10)

Across the water and the land
vague stillness lives, as if the flesh
were not here, but bent along
the common fields and unkept houses
that remain: a fuller feeling
in the hearts of us who stay
on the edge where highways and
the sculpted farms give way to
silence and the fallen brickwork.

The past we are, in flourishes
of molecules upon the cells,
makes us both dead and living.
They who lie upon the earth
are us; we tasted on the lea
the salt-tinged victuals they ate,
felt the swell among us move,
and quickened in the act of freedom.

Here upon the land their shapes persist
from folded meadows to the knoll where
stands a lighted house again.
An arch of dreams transmits the present
to the peopled past. Again the
clutter of a rural mind fills
the straightened bricks with simple faith
or faith made in a different soil.
Life awakening the ever dead.

From the present, too, we
bring ourselves to the body.

By David King
The second poem from Virginia Churches, a series of 8 poems on colonial churches.

Copyright 2004 by David King.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry 360 with permission of the author.

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