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 Spirit Chimes

Finding Religion in Sperryville

I wanted an early hereafter
so I drove to Sperryville,
though I knew God could be found
in the voices of rain
or the eyes of a dog,

I just wanted a day in someone's
toy village, and of course,
I found all the porches—
posing like Lady Liberty—
anyone could ever hope for
and those little fences and rivers
crazed with sanctity, brighter, even
than the tall servings of clouds—
mounds and mounds of
Victorian sweetness, bulging down
over steeples and cows and flags
and sad, rusted things . . .

Oh, and the mountains making a
sound like an anthem . . .

and that's when I heard it: reality
in the far distance of my spirit—
so far, yet grinding away at
the beauty bearing down,

because somewhere,
in a world that's burning,
someone is weeping over another
life stolen,
for no other reason than that life
was labeled less precious
than some others,

so now, how could I be a scholar of
the Universe or sing like Raphael
about the fruited plains,
when the graves are screaming
and hope is seething in
of tear gas
and some children will never hear
their father say "Well done"?

How was I supposed to join the
green revival of the pastures—
and truly they can roll out scripture—
when all I know is Heaven's not here
till we pull it down
and see our splendor in each other?

Seeing all I came to see, nothing more,
I drove back towards my one last life,
with Sperryville,
clean-cut old preacher,
faded and small
behind me.

Patricia Joan Jones

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