by Kendra Thompson

This morning I arose 
much too early 
I dressed as quietly 
as I could 
stepped out 
onto the sidewalk 
of our hotel 
and began my search 
for a place 
to recite morning prayer. 

I brought 
my complimentary 
cup of coffee and a 
heaving bag of 

I landed at perhaps 
the best spot possible – 
a deck that juts out 
over the walking path
 like a levitating patio 
above mercurial waters. 

It is here that I sit, have sat, 
for three quarters of an hour, 
confessing my sins 
to the gently lapping waves 
of a great lake. 

I exalted the Lord aloud 
while seagulls soared 
gracefully through the air 
and then landed 
mere feet beside me 
as if to share 
in the praise 
of our Creator. 

I am very aware 
that this could all 
be put to an end. 

The managers could choose 
to shoo me away 
like one of the scavenging birds 

The owners could insist 
that these wrought iron 
chairs overlooking
majestic Lake Superior 
are for paying customers only. 

They could silence 
my liturgical incantations, 
enforcing the understanding
that this dining pier 
is not for religious ceremonies. 

They could, but they haven’t. 

And so, I continue 
to occupy space here, 
languishing in the hypnotic 
sunshine of the breakfast hours 
even as I have set down 
my prayer books, 
scribbled favorite phrases 
from the Psalms 
and proceed to 
gaze out 
at the 
expansiveness before me 
a sheet of blue-black 
mystery and wonder. 

I suppose I could be afraid, 
but I am not. 

For the world is 
full of cathedrals 
not enclosed by rafters, 
stone and brick; doors 
that open and shut 
by man’s 
presumed sovereignty 

but instead, cathedrals 
of God’s own design 
with vaulted porous ceilings – 
the blue of distance – 
accompanied by wisps of cloud 
and in the place of pews, 
park benches 
on the precipice 
of mighty waters. 

This congregation, 
I’ve observed, 
will not keep silence. 

The woods are filled 
with the joy 
of the Lord – 
the laughter 
of the trees 
shakes the branches, 
quivers tiny leaves 
and needles of pine alike. 

And the pesky birds 
that most the world 
swats away in irritation 
at this hour
have a stage 
all their own. 
In pleasant skies
they dive, 
performing endlessly 
for a triune audience, 
Father, Son and 
Holy Bird. 

I guess I could 
quiet my prayers –
indeed, I have already 
closed my book. 

But I am just one 
of the devout 
in this expansive house 
of worship – 

a chorus 
of creatures 
much larger 
than my own human frame 
persists in calling 
on God’s holy name. 

Kendra Thompson is a wife, mother, writer and minister living in Northwest Iowa. Her work has appeared in SpectrumBody Love for AllPoet’s Choice and These Interesting Times. You can find more of her writing on her blog

One thought on “Cathedral

  1. How picturesque. What a lovely, quiet communion with the Lord and his Creation.


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