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Posted Thursday, June 7, 2007
The Old Meeting House
It has stood with its back to the North wind since 1694
built in the reign of William of Orange and Mary.
Its ancient portal faces the mild, smiling South,
giving entry on the leeward side and a more serene welcome
to visitors down the centuries.
The glittering jewels of its two richly coloured eyes
face the morning: East to the rising Sun.
Down the decades the dust motes have twinkled
and glittered motionless in the silent refracted glory
of richly hued rainbows pouring shafts of sunlight
through the stained-glass windows on a myriad summer days.
The atmosphere hangs heavy with the reverence of age,
And a timeless essence of spiritual piety
Emanates from the dark and derelict
sober rows of oaken pews.
Generations of gentry and peasant; scholar and scoundrel;
The beneficent and bereft have passed this way
Each carrying a common heritage of faith
Onward to their own appointed Kingdom Come.
A history of headstones, like the pages of time
decorate the graveyard all in a line,
personalities past into stonemason’s rhyme;
A memory of a memory makes a glorious shrine!
If the memory is of freedom,
And the freedom – of love;
And this liberty of spirit lifts us soaring above
Our human emotions, to God’s divine grace,
Then memories in abundance fill this old meeting place.
The ghosts of a thousand congregations
Haunt the hallowed hall
with galleries of choirs sending a silent echo
through the archives of Eternity and
a proclamation of forever stamps a bold statement
of defiance on it’s weather-worn walls,
stone dressed in seventeenth century apparel
and twenty-first century neglect.
There’s a singing in the silence of the shadows as they fall,
and softly fold around the burial ground behind the ancient wall,
and the Commonwealth Tree stands in testimony
whilst empires around it fall, as fall they must,
and from dust turn to dust ‘til no more their anthems
shall raise across a divide two thousand years wide
the true spirit of love to His praise.
Carrying visions of glory they have passed
From yesterday into tomorrow,
Leaving traces of hope for today.
It feeds the fire in the belly of the beast;
It resurrects the heretic corpse
And rises triumphantly forlorn in the poet’s breast
Proclaiming Life & Liberality
To the deaf mutes of humanity
Who, at a loss, only understand
The sign language of the cross.