Oh holy structure, revered by man, upheld through ages through thy claim of part with him.
Already is that morning come, and quaking earth upheaving!
Already doth thy mellow chime whisper its eerie knell, Already doth
That King whom thou acclaimest sit in regal glory upon the mighty seat!
Oh, crumbling vestment of the ego, Man---make way! His host proceeds!
No altar yet upraised but shall give way to that his Sire hath flung from His prolific hand.
He, the High-priest, lights the taper Day, each morning with the sun,
And incense flings across the valley way in silver mists;
Filling the night with litanies, lighting each star in memory of some holy soul,
Defying mould and ravages of time, the festival of worm upon the festering flesh.
Exultant doth this God erect anew each coming day and night
An altar upon which to burn our hearts, while thou dost re-echo dead prayers;
Burning incense yet before the embered fire of Hope.
While thy dimming tapers die, and the carved saints stand mute before thy suppliants
What, should His holy step be heard naked upon the stones, with the pattering of sheep beside?
Oh ye mighty walls and towering spires astride the cowled gabled ways!
Thy emblazoned scripts depicting fanciful reaction of ancient times;
Smoking altars upon which yellow candles flare, burning the sacred air,
To send aloft a pungent scent of mouldering decay,
Blackening with slow sure touch the placid faces of the saints,
Who with stony visages gaze adown the aisles, unseeing man's exultant joy or is despair.
Vault-like, in cold aloofness, proudly do ye stand, reechoing the changs
That flow from out cold tombs, the unlit hearts of priesthood and of saintly nuns.
For this did saints ope up their veins? did martyrs writhe? And did holy writs
By their tedious array enslave the humble sanctity of men?
Or did men, to do their will, write with unalterable tracery
Law, that ran new within the fluid pressed in fervid troth to God?
while blood in lapping waves washed they very doors, did Mary stand
Dumb, hearkening to some litany mumbled in a limped tongue,
And priest send incense up, or light a taper in thy pit-like dark?
Oh, everlasting God! I am dismayed, that thy very stones did not gape
And fall apart; that every scarlet line within thy illumined records
Did not spurt in anguish and, bleeding, wipe the "law" from off the page.