Kelly Kurt

Gold Star - 193,815 Points (1/14/1958 / Cedar Rapids Iowa)

Night In An Empty Church - Poem by Kelly Kurt

Civil war soldiers said their goodbyes here
Brides, in their flowing white gowns, marked their happiest days here
Countless masses and funerals for sixteen decades were held here
Tonight, empty, the hollow church weeps silence
Thick stone walls hold the chill
Stained glass distorts moon beams into phantasms
Walking up the spiral staircase, lonely creaks denote my every step
Seated, in the back row of pews, I hear the voluminous chapel hiss
Like the whispers of the long gone congregation
For thirty minutes, alone in the dark, I meditate
The old cherry wood pew, although cold against my skin
Hugs me warmly, as a mother would her child
That is what the old church building must think of me
I have lived here for nine years
Taking care of her
At night she is soothing, comforting, pacifying in her humble stillness
The old, fragile windows heave in a breeze like a raspy sigh
And rouse me from my solipsistic reverie
Slowly, down the dark steps, I unwind
Across the empty basement and to my room
Another night in an empty church

Topic(s) of this poem: alone, hope, life, love, meditation, memory, nature, night, thoughts


Poet's Notes about The Poem

I helped to restore and have lived in a rural, antebellum church as the caretaker for nine years. For a while, the owners, friends of mine, ran a wedding chapel business here. Unfortunately, one is dealing with terminal cancer and so the building has been unused for a long time now. It is lonely sometimes and always silent. At nights I go upstairs and sit in the dark for a while to think. When I came back to my room tonight, I wrote this.

Comments about Night In An Empty Church by Kelly Kurt

  • Daniel Brick (8/3/2017 3:19:00 AM)


    This a double work of creativity, both the poem by itself and the prose comments which explains the background.
    The poem (for me) deals with the remnants of a lost faith in a supernatural order once meshed into the natural order in a hierarchy of value. As faith in this supernatural has faded, its material components have become relics which still cast a spell or perhaps create an aura of their former sacredness. So even in its decline the empty church conveys something of its former glory' Even if the poet sees the former faith as illusion, he is aware of the human will and purpose that went into the making of the church and by extension religious beliefs. There is an irreducible sense of mystery and awe visiting or living in the church possess.
    Your prose comment puts all of this in its actuality, and replaces spiritual awe with historical appreciation.

    as its er
    (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Bharati Nayak (11/4/2015 9:49:00 PM)


    In loneliness we ponder, meditate.Beautiful depiction of loneliness and surroundings in relation to life that is full with spiral stair case, stained glass and lonely creaks.And this loneliness also feels comforting sometimes in her humble stillness. (Report) Reply

    Kelly Kurt Kelly Kurt (11/5/2015 12:49:00 AM)

    It is sometimes comforting. Thanks, Bharati

  • Pamela Sinicrope (10/21/2015 5:38:00 PM)


    This is a beautifully written poem! The picture is nice too, though when I blew it up to get a clearer glimpse of the flowers, it went blurry. Your church is beautiful. Thanks for this expressive, descriptive poem. The lines where you talk about the church as mother show the affection you have for this historic abode. (Report) Reply

    Kelly Kurt Kelly Kurt (10/21/2015 8:11:00 PM)

    The picture was taken at least 5 or 6 years ago. To the right is a large shade garden. It is a wonderful building. I don't know how many other people get to live in a place like this.: -)

  • Liza Sudina (10/12/2015 5:37:00 AM)


    Loved this poem very much! (and the picture reminds me a church in Riga I saw in childhood) . very warm poem, the mood I like! only one question - why is it empty and why do you have a room there? (Report) Reply

    Kelly Kurt Kelly Kurt (10/12/2015 11:07:00 AM)

    The small town congregation dwindled to only a few, very old members. They could not afford to take care of it and so sold it to my friends who promised to beautify to original condition. I was homeless at the time and they offered to let me stay in a small basement room. In turn, I helped to restore it and keep the grounds lovely. I live alone here and seldom leave

  • Eugene Levich (3/22/2015 1:45:00 PM)


    A lovely poem that effectively establishes an interesting setting and a philosophic mood- one that draws in and holds the reader. (Although this one had to look up solopsistic, and is still not entirely certain in which sense the meaning should be taken.) Were the Civil War soldiers Rebs or Yankees? (Report) Reply

    Kelly Kurt Kelly Kurt (3/22/2015 2:01:00 PM)

    Yankees, (Northern Illinois) The solipsism arose in my consideration of the history and the fact that all that was real in the moment was my thought. Anything else seemed to only be a creation of my mind at the time.

Read all 9 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags


Poem Submitted: Sunday, March 15, 2015

Poem Edited: Monday, April 20, 2015


[Report Error]