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Lilies at the Front of the Church, a poem by Peter Menkin
by Peter Menkin  
3/20/2009 / Poetry

Lilies At The Front Of
The Church
a poem
by Peter Menkin

When I ask someone
why do you go to Church,
they say,
"To see them light candles,"
"Go forward during the hymn,
for the music,"
"Easter lilies."

These white flowers, delicate,
adorn the front of the
Church where we will go
for communion,
stepping among lovely
waiting ones present
and gone
also in the promise
of resurrection.

We gather: For the blood
and body broken in bread
by the celebrant,
a good man, devout.

My Aunt is 80 and
more; she likes a
gift of lilies given this
time of year.

The Minister is a comfort.
Thank you for bringing
Easter with us in
blood and body.
Dr. Brown is old,
she comes every week.
The blind woman
knows Christ's promise,
and wants company.

Secret, mystical things happen.
Yes. Say yes. I do.

I went for the candle lighting,
and wanted to hear bells ring.
I looked at parents,
shared their companionship
with their children,
and saw the aged;
spectacle of harmony
and energy. I know
some come to sit
in quiet moments.

A man lights a candle
for his wife, gone.
This other Sundays.
But more than this
touches us--
as God is among us.

The swirling morning
colors through windows
bring hallowed
light, it does enlarge
and bring us together
enlisting life to
dry bones. Easter.

Many pray and know
their Bible. Easter
brings people together
in promises that are
unknown; these
secret hearts,
sacred minutes,
oh, mystery.

In Earthtime
we see the lilies gathered,
and they are for us.

The tomb is empty.

Audio reading of poem by poet is here:

Religious and spiritual poem describing fictional people and their reasons for going to Church. This poem, by "a Parish Poet" Peter Menkin, is set at Easter time and talks of the seasonal event. The poet, an Oblate of Immaculate Heart Hermitage (Camaldoli), Big Sur, California attends Church of Our Saviour, Mill Valley, California where the imaginary, descriptive poetic recitation takes place. The work was favorite of a Priest friend, who felt it a warm statement on Church living.

These words appear in the poem:

When I ask someone
why do you go to Church,
they say,
To see them light candles,
Go forward during the hymn,
for the music,
Easter lilies.

These white flowers, delicate,
adorn the front of the
Church where we will go
for communion,
stepping among lovely
waiting ones present
and gone
also in the promise
of resurrection.

Note that a text of the work appears on the personal website "Hello World" located at . Photographs of the Holy Land (Isreal), also appear on the website, which is in color. This poem is in the section on Easter, the Christian website made up of 62 pages.

Workshoped on The Atlantic Monthly Writers Workshop some years ago, which is no longer extand, a comment by a mainland Chinese poet on the work says:

The lilies! I can not fathom what
they meant to you,
but together with blood and body,
they seem to be mean something.
Thanks for your poem.

Peter Menkin, an aspiring poet, lives in Mill Valley, CA USA where he writes poetry. He is an Oblate of Immaculate Heart Hermitage, Big Sur, CA and that means he is a Camaldoli Benedictine. He is 64 years of age as of 2010.

Copyright Peter Menkin

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