Stone Church
by Alan Shapiro

copyright © 2012 by Alan Shapiro

A space to rise in,
made from what falls,
from the very mass
it’s cleared from,
cut, carved, chiseled,
fluted or curved
into a space
there is no end to
at night when
the stained glass
behind the altar
could be stone too,
obsidian, or basalt,
for all the light there is.

At night, high
over the tiny
galaxy of cancles
guttering down
into dark chapels
all along the nave,
there’s greater
gravity inside the
the grace that’s risen
highest into rib
vaults and flying
buttresses, where
each stone is another
stone’s resistance to
the heaven far
beneath it, that
with all its might
it yearns for, down
in the very soul
of earth where it’s said
that stone is forever
falling into light
that burns as it rises,
cooling, into stone.