Monday, November 21, 2011

Barkerville, St Saviour's Church

In ghost towns of the world,
where gold is found and lost again,
men with dreams and hope,
greed or predatory bent
flash riot in migratory schools,
whip into a vortex of locusts,
boys with shovels and guns
break free,
adventure forth to destiny,
wild of eye in a  pack at the kill,
no balance of home
and faithful woman.

Yet the mystery
scattered among them,
of surplice and book,
another kind,
men who build churches,
who point to the sky, a cross on a hill,
who bury, build and bare
the wonder of it all in the mud
and freezing starvation.

The strange one,
who men turn to at the amputation,
gold gone or never found,
whose council comes
as balance and faint memory
from  holy words lived and spoken
to history's forgotten clusters
 of soaking tents and hopeless shacks,
untamed, unpainted.

In wild slag towns of the world,
a godly human soul
plants seeds of civility and brotherly love
in fields of desperation,
raising the extravagant luxury,
wonder of wonders,
a steeple that still stands,
a bell that still calls the conscience
from that age to this,
a building of rough-sawn weathered boards
made holy for worship.

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