The Empty Old Church Re-opens

by Nolo Segundo

For over a year, it lay quiet,
the big gray stones in the walls
framing what seemed more
empty tomb than church--
the stained-glass windows
did not sing out their beauty
for no one was there to hear…
well, God, as He’s everywhere, 
but not his priests, nor sextons,
nor ushers, and no worshipers as
they were all sheltering at home.

But isn’t a church [or temple or
mosque] the home of believers?
Why did they all stay away when
the terrible storm plagued all
parts of an unprepared world? 
When Jesus slept in the boat
as a tempest plagued his men,
men who saw his work each day,
who knew his power, his immense
love, and his lonely communion 
with his Father, yet still they feared
like children terrified of the dark….

And then in their cowardice, they
scolded Jesus for falling asleep!
For leaving them naked to the 
brutal wind and stinging rains…
and his heart must have cracked 
a bit to see that his chosen ones 
were still blind, deaf, and dumb. 

Yet our church, our lovely stone 
church built in the Anglican style
of the last century, when faith was
a refuge to most lives, seemed
to welcome us, the handful or two 
of mostly aging or old worshipers
who came to talk to God as one,
to sing to God as a single voice,
to listen for His ever quiet Word,
just a whisper, so easy to miss…

Nolo Segundo, pen name of L.J.Carber, in his 70s, became a published poet in over 80 literary journals/anthologies in 7 countries (such as Heart of Flesh, Ekstasis, Time of Singing) and 2 trade book collections: The Enormity of Existence [2020] and Of Ether and Earth [2021]. The titles, like much of his work, reflect the awareness he’s had since having an NDE whilst almost drowning in a Vermont river: that he has—is—a consciousness that predates birth and survives death, what poets and other people once called the soul. Nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2022 by Spirit Fire Review, he’s retired from teaching English/ESL in America, Japan, Taiwan and Cambodia (leaving there before the time of the Killing Fields), who has been married 42 years to a smart and beautiful Taiwanese woman.

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