lenten journal: bearings



as soon as the fires went out we started
looking for hope among the ruins

sharing the same picture over and over
of the cross beaming in the rubble

I read that the towers were still standing
that the organ had not been destroyed

heard promise after promise of rebuilding
even as the smoke still whispered to the stones

to grasp the geography of being alive
we need some direction when our maps burn

and we are left with an on-the-fly cartography
from some that act as though explanations

will help us find our way somehow but
too many times those roads run to retaliation

against those whose hearts are broken too
though maybe for different reasons than ours

someone meant to burn the churches in St. Landry
suicide bombers want to damage all they can

some of them in lands more ancient than Paris
but what does it mean that a cathedral

could become charred ruins by accident
is there anywhere safe on our map

never mind I know the answer to the
last one even though we hardly say it

none of us has a map to safety
the best we can do is stick together

and I don’t mean just you and me
we need more than us to make our way

there is no map to safety I said that
already but it seems to bear repeating



  1. As a young woman directing a church choir we learned “for it is thou, Lord, thou, Lord, only, that makest me dwell in safety.” It often comes to mind these 50+ years later.

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