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Masters of the ancient art
shaped sunlight into artifact,
sent back to God the shaping word,
and caught creation in the act.

where the sun is fractured, filtered, split,
and like a captured rainbow, lies
cool along the stone,
the shadowed vault and holy spaces
soaring upward in the awe-filled light,
blue and scarlet, brilliant, soft,
along your face, gentler than sun.

Here along the simple aisle the long light goes,
caresses tourists, whispers in their ears
as they adjust their cameras;
the sun still splits,the shadows shape
around their shoulders, for whom the art is not
astir in glass and stone.
They get the perfect shot
as though the sun had moved upon
that old stained glass in perfect time
for photographs
before they hurry on.

Dilapidate, above the town
pulling sunlight to it
the old cathedral scatters grace
on those who wander through it.

My mother stood so, derelict,
in shapeless dress and tousled hair,
to, in her arms and heart collect
rays of light to cover fear.
No pilgrims photograph her face
or speak, in whispers, of her grace
— in the shambles of my memory,
she shines rose-windowed over me.

      — Sharon Kourous