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