Sandwiched between an Olympus
of glass and Sax’s mansion
of fashion, the twin steeples
of St. Patrick’s aspire.
From Fifth Avenue’s clog of trucks,
cars and taxis I plunge into dim light
and deep quiet where massive pillars soar
to a vault ten stories above.
Somber stone and wooden saints stare
patiently. Wax scents waft from hundreds
of candles flickering in alcoves like spirits
while gardens of light spill from stained glass.
I don’t believe in eternity, but
a stupefying calm of echoing
footsteps and whispers leads me where
I imagine the Almighty is listening.
Is God in the tubular toothy smile
of the organ, with hand-clasped kneelers,
a softly snoring homeless man
or the two teens petting in a corner?
Divinity abides in gliding stone arches,
kaleidoscopic glass, mind spinning
sculpture and engineering transforming
shadows to substance, air to structure.
A Jonah belched from the belly of belief, I’m
dazed by light, again dodging traffic. Looking
back, the stone spires focus through Atlas’
bronze planetary rings at Rockefeller’s plaza.
Caught by the undertow, I’m in thrall to crowds
surging through the Pharaonic cathedral of profits
where golden Prometheus holds fire
beside flower beds and votive fountains.
Among regal sky-rises life is hustle and hum
where briefcases are held like rosaries
and tourists thrill to prayers of joy and amazement.
God may be home across the street, but works here.