Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sleeping in Church


Pappy posted about the topic of sleeping
in church last week and it reminded me
of a conversation I had with my dear 93
year old grandfather, who passed away
last year. We were chatting and he asked
me if I remembered going to church with
him, when I was a little girl. I did, indeed,
remember and had fond memories of
sitting, curled up next to him in the pew.
I was inspired, a few years back, to write
this poem as a tribute.

Indian Church, painting by Emily Carr, 1929


First Brethren Church, 1959

The steeple bells are silent
and all now assembled.
Backwards in the pew,
I scan the parishioners.

Men are tall dark trees.
Ladies in plumed hats, tropical birds.
One, with red lipstick, a parrot.

Sun kaleidoscopes through stained glass.
I wonder at the windows in revered worship;
torch, harp, and Jesus the Shepherd.

I trace the carved chairs at the altar.
The pattern of my eyes
are mirrored in their wooden backs.

Nodding head slumps to Grandpa's knee;
a prized butterscotch lifesaver
sticks in the palm of my hand.

Suddenly awake; seats creak
as the forest groans to its feet.
Trees and birds sing out in unison.
So it ever shall be! World without end. Amen. Amen.

29 comments:

  1. Willow, a very loving tribute. Thanks for sharing and for the Arte y Pico Award - what a wonderful surprise.

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  2. David, it was my pleasure. Your blog and artwork are fabulous!

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  3. What a beautiful poem. Your imagery is vivid and exquisite. I felt I was right there with you seeing it through the eyes of a child. Thank you for sharing.

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  4. I just love this. How precious, what sweet memories you have.

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  5. Thanks for you kind comment, MG :)

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  6. Your poem is a touching tribute to a fond memory you have of your grandfather, Willow.
    How lucky you were to have him for so many years!

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  7. Oh yea...you finally posted it! It's my favorite.

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  8. Great imagery. Now that wasn't hard was it. Glad you are sharing. It would appear I'm not the only one. Precious memories. Pappy

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  9. Alex, thank you! You are so sweet. I've been enjoying your blog also.

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  10. Pappy, well, it was harder than you think. It's very scary to put your poetry out there...well, maybe not YOUR poetry...but it was hard for me.

    Thanks for your kind words. :)

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  11. Just got back in town this evening and found this lovely poem! Really beautiful, Willow!

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  12. Willow... this is such a special gift to honour the memory of your grandfather. Truly beautiful and evocative. Have a very blessed Sunday.

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  13. Willow, your poem brings back Sunday morning memories from long ago. I remember the times the congregation would be singing a hymn and I couldn't stop myself from turning to see who that was whose voice was soooooo off key. Also, I loved to watch peoples head droop and then jerk as they fell sleep. Hmmmm....I've done the same thing myself more than once.

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  14. a very nice poem it is, willow! this so takes me back to my little indiana church growing up. my grandpa gave me butterscotch lifesavers as well!

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  15. Julie, this particular church was in the little town of Burlington, IN. So, you are a fellow Hoosier! :)

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  16. Stevie, when my sisters and I were older, it was very hard sometimes not to completely burst out laughing at some church goers. I have fun memories of shaking in silent laughter and holding my breath until I turned purple.

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  17. Wonderful--and the ending is exquisite. I love the butterscotch lifesaver.

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  18. Nicely written....and a great memory for you. Blessings.

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  19. I love it!! You know that is so funny. My grandpa is a minister, and he's retired now, only on special occasions will he do the occasional sermon. But I grew up in this little church in the little town that I am from, and not only does grandpa fall asleep when someone else does a sermon, but when I was little I would lay down on those hard pews and fall asleep between both my grandparents, and grandpa would always carry peppermints for me in his pockets. A lot of fond memories. I love this post, thank you!!
    ~Em~

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  20. Em, sounds like your church memories are very similar to mine! :)

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  21. How did I miss this earlier?

    This piece is so evocative. I feel as though I'm sitting in the next pew.
    I love the lady with the red lipstick and the parrot.

    Lovely wording of "Sun kaleidoscopes" through stained glass. It epitomizes the effect perfectly.

    You're hiding your own light under a bushel. Let it out more often!

    Kat

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  22. Kat, thank you SO much! I love your poetry, so coming from you, this is truly a huge compliment. I will have to be brave and pull out a few more.

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  23. That is so wonderful Willow.

    It brings to mind my own grandad... I can almost smell his tobacco and the wooliness of his cardigan.

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  24. I have difficulty with poetry except some of the greats, but Emily Carr is like a national icon in Canada, so much so that we tend to ignore her. It's nice to see an American showing her work.

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  25. Your imagery is excellent. That is a fabulous poem.

    I can close my eyes and see everything and hear everything.

    I went to a small country church when I was a child. No AC. In the summer, with the windows open, I can still hear the droning of the Cicadas outside, and the soft Umphh from the 'trees' inside when a sharp elbow interrupted the a overly-loud Zzzzzzs.

    Nice tribute to your Granddad.
    Well done.

    Come visit anytime,
    Troy and Martha

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  26. Troy and Martha, you are too nice! Thank you so much for your kinds comments on my poem. Hope to see you back here at the Manor soon. :)

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)