Holy Space — By Patricia Miller

An Ode to Sanctuary of Hope’s Chapel

A pale night light watches over each door,

twenty doors, twenty flickers of blue —

angels guarding those within.

I slip through the sleeping hall,

careful to avoid the squeaky floorboard

lest I waken one of those the angels guard.

The hall ends at the chapel door.

Warmed by a hundred years 

of prayer and memories, it welcomes me. 

The scent of lemon from Saturday’s cleaning 

does not erase the lingering scent

of incense and bee’s wax candles.

Forty-watt light bulbs shine through curtains, 

hide the 80-year-old water stain, 

give a honeyed glow to the tabernacle’s gold.

Simple straight-backed pine pews, polished

by generations praying lauds and vespers

asking: O, God come to our assistance

An awkward blue vase, made in second grade art class,

holds a single white lily to Mary, our Mother.

Desire, not skill, gives the gift its perfect beauty.

By Morning Prayer, dark squares along each wall

welcome daylight, transparent windows show

oaks and maple to rival stained glass.

I kneel. No books, no hymns, no liturgy. Time

for resting with those who came and those to come

to this place made holy by those the angels guard.

~ Patricia Miller

Patricia Miller began writing poetry to find perspective after her husband’s death. She volunteered with her husband at  Sanctuary of Hope for 20 years. SOH remains her favorite place of solace.  Patricia graduated from the University of Saint Mary, Leavenworth, and resides in Mission Kansas. She was recently published in Months to

Guest Editor Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ph.D., the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate is the author of 24 books, including How Time Moves: New & Selected Poems; Miriam’s Well, a novel; Needle in the Bone, a non-fiction book on the Holocaust; The Sky Begins At Your Feet: A Memoir on Cancer, Community, and Coming Home to the Body. Founder of Transformative Language Arts, she leads writing workshops widely, coaches people on writing and right livelihood, and consults on creativity. YourRightLivelihood.com, Bravevoice.com, CarynMirriamGoldberg.com


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