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At Chartres, we see the stained glass windows slump
from centuries of gravity, becoming
thicker glass at bottom than the top,
like waterfalls of slow and liquid sand.

In Athens, temples, sculpture, palaces
had first been painted bright as Disneyland,
but when the paint was gone we strangely liked
them bleached and bare like piles of human bone.

And in Jerusalem, Ezekiel wrote,
the Glory of the Lord rose like a cloud,
lingered at the Temple door, floated up
the hill to look back once before the Exile.

So all bright things return to dust and cloud;
the psalmist sang, “Go back, O child of earth.”
Yet in that cloud is rain, and in that dust
is Christ arisen, making all things new.

—Steven Peterson