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Monday, May 14, 2018

Even more serious - poem about a murder, plus some backstory

I went to Stanford University for my undergrad degree (English and American literature). I liked spending time in the Memorial Church, enjoying the quiet, looking at the impressive stained glass windows. (You can see photos of the windows at this link.)

One night, when I'd been visiting the church again, I tried to leave and discovered I'd been locked in. The minister had failed to notice me when he locked up and left. This was long before cell phones, and there was no pay phone anywhere I could see in the accessible area. After a while, however, the minister came back for something, found me, and let me out.

I believe it was a couple of days later that a girl was stabbed to death in the church at night. As you can imagine, what would have struck me as tragic and shocking in any event had an extra impact, given my recent experience.

So I wrote this poem. The imagery refers to several of the windows.


On the Murder in Memorial Church

Strange impotence:
stained glass night-frozen,
unable to beam
its pictured Salvation;
Jesus the healer,
caught trapped in a corner;
Christus crying into the darkness,
take this cup away! –
the Agony presiding
invisibly helpless;
unillumined, the desperate
will drown.

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