In the brochure they promised a spiritual experience,
Doubtful but I climbed the steps, scoffed at tacky shops,
Complained my legs hurt, but liked the shape of it
The imposing majesty of buildings growing from the rock.
I wandered the maze of rooms with the crowds,
Blinked at the impossible beauty of human endeavor,
That runs in a wheel to lift supplies to make monument
To the story of a dragon slaying angel.
I wandered the cloisters and for one moment was alone
By chance one noisy group leaving before another arrived,
Head bowed in the setting sun it would seem like praying
But I was thinking of the past, lost in imagining how it was
That such an impossibility was dreamed and made reality.
At the top was an almighty room filled with a single cello
Mournful and hopeful, haunting, it filled my mind
Until it blocked out everyone else and I was alone again,
Sat in a pew, eyes closed and dreaming of forever and the world,
Bigger than me, endless and always, magnificent without divinity.
Walking from the muted light into waiting dusk to stand above the world
I was no closer to God than before, soothed by the peace of it
I almost wished I could feel that too but as always it was enough
To look upon the beauty of reality and love it as a precious thing
That needs no pretending, that can be touched and can be cherished.