Monday Poem

Capela dos Ossos
—on a Chruch of Bones, Evora, Portugal

We pray in a church of bonesChruch of bones-border
in which skulls outline graceful arches
of low vaults and whose columns are ladders
of stacked femurs. We admire its capitals
of craniums

It’s walls, unlike the idealizations
of Michelangelo, are not fantasies
romanced in fresco but the real thing:
stony remnants of once-respiring

We pray in a church of bones
whose windows look out
beneath an osseous calcium dome

Our chapel of once-articulating skeletons
—a reliquary of calcium phosphate—
rises over a promontory like a lighthouse
warning the world of muscle and breath,
spit and sweat, bile and blood
to steer clear of the promises of ghosts
and constantly sound to avoid being
beached in mud

We pray in a church of bone
We hope in a field of dreams
We hate or love between
unknown and unknown

by Jim Culleny
Jan 1, 2010

The Church of Bones