Ex Cathedra


Countless rows of stained oak

Vaulting to a darkening emptiness

Distracting to a deepening restlessness

Counting the rails, guessing the nails 

Holding in place the artless artifact

Blacking out the sky, preventing 

Our prayers’ escape to the heavens.


Beams exposed like ribs of the crucified god

Stretched with the strained skin

Of the stained oak

And the nails, multiplied like echoing words,

Holding it all in place

Countless nails, numberless words

Framing an edifice isolating life from

The world and its creator.


Beneath the stained arches walling out the sky

A vast terrestrial heaven

Of artificial color, muted light

Distorted by some fields of deep stained glass

Reality displaced by a pretty window picture

And matching words, and matching minds, 

Well matched men with matchless women, 

Soothed by soft music, moved by soft words,

Indifferent to the nails that were required

To bring it all together.


 © Philip Knight 2018