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Here we are, with four children, at late Mass,
   The nave a bloated hull of tin, the cross
   Dangling from double chains, its weight of loss
Moored in midair as listing decades pass.
A few gray heads, behind, recall a past
   When the bright sharded window cast its gloss
   On pews packed full: however time’s waves toss
The Church, it’d bear its people to the last.

That’s not the obvious lesson it once seemed,
   As I turn toward strange faces offering peace,
   And fail to find those who were borne with me
Through all the sacraments, those taught to see,
   In every fall, love’s chance to be redeemed,
   Never thinking all prayer might simply cease.

—James Matthew Wilson

Photo by Nheyob via Creative Commons. Image cropped.