"Tuning the Organ: National Cathedral, Washington D.C." | Poetry Contest | Indy Week

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"Tuning the Organ: National Cathedral, Washington D.C."

An honorable mention winner in the 2001 Independent poetry contest

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Nothing so

incongruous

to the marriage of stone

to graceful arch,

to the union of light and colored glass

than this fog-horn blast

shifting the floor beneath us.

It's as if the pipes have gas,

all sanctity blown

as the docent apologizes,

her voice high-pitched

straining to explain,

"Monthly repairs,

so sorry for your visit,

must be done"

and then some.

We have come to receive,

but not these bullfrog tones,

Somewhere a man in dusty coveralls

is oblivious to our cringing

as he kneels to the coupling

of expectation and reality.

He is measurement, science and scale

where we would trust faith

to hold dominion.

Panes stutter

and the docent apologizes again,

like Oz, she begs us

to pay no attention

to the man behind the curtain.

Bass swells the ground

as somewhere

muscle comes close to securing beauty

and a tightening wrench

tinkers towards the holy.

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