Poetry of Kansas

Silent Sentinels

They stand as stark monuments to a people
      dedicated to Christian belief and unflinching
      faith --
These Church towers, silhouetted against the
      Western skies,
Invite the rural peoples to remember their past
With its determined down-to-earth values that
      would live on for ages --
Live on in the soil, in the town and in the
      unbroken chains of life-in-death.
The sentinels evoke memories of bygone days,
When community, enlivened by its sense of
Brought all peoples as one to the rural Church and
      its congregation.
Gathering outside, after Holy Mass, the folks
      planned afternoons,
Families were invited for dinner and card playing,
While the children shared fun in creative games of
      Cops and Robbers enjoyed in a sense of loving
The table, heavy with farm food, offered its store of
      homemade, succulent wonders
That blue-ribboned themselves on the pantry shelf.
In the evening dusk, as families parted for hearth
      and home,
The quiet, still Gothic towers, emphasizing the
      center of life and loving faith, could be seen
As far as the naked eye could penetrate.
There, against the darkened sky, the gaunt steeples
      mock the unseeing world.
With their chide of a loss of faith and devoted,
      loving pride.
The morning chimes ring out joyously to the world
      for another day--another hour of living faith,
Renewed in the evolving mystical experience of
     Thoreau's "more day to dawn--the sun is but
      a morning star."

Sister Madeleine Kisner, A.S.C.
(Wichita: privately published. 2005)
Used by permission of the poet

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June 1, 2005 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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