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by Michael Jackman
This barn was newly raised, once. This patch
of ground was hallowed by its arching ribs,
aromas of the earth rose through the thatch
of sweet straw quilted over new-made cribs.
The hay-loft pulley, swaying in the sun,
was an eternal lamp, the double-doors,
an entrance to a tabernacle one
approached to worship during morning chores.
And now the roof is broken. Now the rain
pours through the holes and floods the hallowed ground.
Wind blows among wood skeletons, the stain
of rotting hay, its protest made, a sound
raised up to summon us to patch the roof.
Far from abandoned barns, we stand aloof.
Thomas Merton Poetry of the Spiritual Contest (Runner up, 2001)
Thomas Merton Seasonal (2002)