Old Stone Church

(VIRGINIA, 1754)

HERE where three valleys meet,
Lord’s chosen stood and built
Room for the Paraclete
Under the rafters’ tilt;
Split from the virgin tree
Gothic and straitly hewn
Thrones for divinity
Present, intense, triune.
Might of the Psalmist’s own
Mortised these shaggy blocks
Into a single stone,
Ageless, the Rock of Rocks.
Where the lithe arrow bit
Hard on the window ledge,
Eyes at the stony slit
Winnowed the shadow’s edge,
Sent to its destiny
Fire from the rifle-pan,
Lightning for heresy,
Gospeled the Indian.
Time came and made for Him
Moss-green mosaic:
Lord God and cherubim,
Lethal, Hebraic,
Tight in their belfry nook,
Slept after labor,
Seeing how people took
Peace for a neighbor.
Now that new gods decree
Orchards and winter wheat,
Drowses the Trinity,
Slumbers the Paraclete.