Patti Masterman


Requiscat In Pace - Poem by Patti Masterman

The empty church sits idle, as if waiting for something
But the hands of the bride have grown cold,
And the bridegroom has lost his way,
In midst of the confusion; a too faded iconography
Where the once blooming flower petals fell upon the floor,
Now resembling a phantasm's trail out the door
To a nowhere palpable and present, while always, the ever vacant moment's plea:
Requiscat in Pace

A world body of believers, now perished
All dressed in their fine, funeral best;
Though hymnals and common books of prayer, we still find;
Where is their face; and where their touch; where the babies, left wailing
Behind the altar, under surreal stretched droplets of water
That never quite fell; where sat the families of the dead, that once were carried
In measured pace, to clairaudient music, along flaming candles of intention:
Requiscat in Pace

Candles raining waxy tears, hour by lonely hour, each year;
Was it centuries, that candles kept their vigil of fear, for dead and living,
Inside plastered walls, where hope too sits dead,
In remorseful cliques of quietude, where no thing breathes, no thing moves.
Where are the chants; the raised, supplicating voices
That once raised the ghost of a morning, each day,
And bid to the demons of darkness, each night:
Requiscat in Pace

There lie the leavings, frail hope of humanity,
Look there to realize, the same bony hands you see
Must be at work in your life too, and those whom you love;
You as the ghost, of a still-breathing dream,
In an empty cathedral, filled up with cooled wax,
Praising fruitless prayers, while but little light is left,
For the night time belongs to unquiet memories:
Requiscat in Pace

Even if they do not truly die, neither did they really live;
And they had the same hopes, narrow limitations, glory and tragedy;
Look closer; you may find your name on one of the plaques
Upon the altars, in stillborn hope, that you may find peace,
The elusive peace they went searching for;
That endless search, in which spent every breath-
Just as you now go toward the valley, of the shadow of death
Requiscat in Pace

Even that place, must resemble this one; filled to overflowing
Crowds re-breathing the stifling air; for moveless centuries
Inside the same box of relics, that's passed down to us,
Kneeling in the same pews and churches; our knees in their crypts,
Their dust in our eyes, our hands in their ashes, we're mouthing the same canned
Response, unchanged for three centuries, and all going in the same direction
The same dead, pale flowers preceding us, showing the path to the cemetery:
Requiscat in Pace


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010



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