The Reverend’s stone church spire
which once inspired so much awe
now brings only swift regret
for all the time spent on knees
when outside those dark church aisles
the yard was fringed with maple leaves
in brightest dress: browns, greens, yellows,
red leaves blowing in the unbound breeze
and the muffled cries of normal children
through stained glass and chanceled dust.
But what is left?
Clouds of uncertainty drift through day.
No surety at all.
Sometimes I wish Sundays were back
and I, a child again
whispering muffled prayers
in cupped hands raised to a dusty god.
Hugh Mitchell’s chapbooks of original poems include Animal Guides, Light in the Grove, and, just released, Seeds in Winter, from which “Sunday Back” is taken. His work has been published in Comstock Review, LLI Review, and RIT Signatures. He won a contest called “Disarming Images,” which resulted in him reading his poem “Alamagordo” on a program with Gary Snyder.
Mitchell has been a leader in the Sierra Club in the Rochester, N.Y., area and in New York State, beginning in 1970 in an effort to save Genesee Valley Park. Many of his poems reflect on nature and speak of his effort to find metaphysical answers.
Write to him at 147 Hillside Ave., Rochester, N.Y., 14610, for permission to copy, republish or anthologize his poems.