William Reichard, “An Open Door”

It’s been awhile since I posted a poem.

I loved this one I found on the Writer’s Almanac today, which captures almost perfectly the richness of the inner life. I suppose one really can live well quietly and with little action, if one is suited to it.

Poem: “An Open Door” by William Reichard, from This Brightness. © Mid-List Press, 2007.

Across the sanctuary of a community church
a door stands ajar; stained glass windows
allow only some of the sun to enter; filtered
yellow, red, opalescent green drench the pews.
On the altar converted to stage, a circle of
students contemplates a question of vocation.
Through the open door, only light, daytime
invading the intimate dim familiar in churches,
the hazy quality of the house of god.
When a child, I wanted to be a vampire.
Or a scientist. Or an actor. The world
seemed open to me in a way it does not
seem open now. What is your passion,
the facilitator asks and students giggle.
What drives you? I try to focus
on the question at hand, but lose myself
in the sunlight streaming in through
the open door. In this, a sanctuary,
I don’t feel safe. What do you want
to be when you grow up? Not a teacher,
certainly; not a soldier; not a poet.
Who lives in the gray corners of a church
besides mice? What is that face in
the stained glass? When in college,
I wanted to be an archaeologist, wanted
to dig into the storied dirt of time and
come up with some history. In this room
I want to be a priest. It could be comforting,
living in the dark spaces of a church,
just me and the mice. What is your
vocation, the facilitator asks and
at this moment, I’d say, I am
a bringer of light; a man who stands
in a doorway flooded by sun;
I am a bird; someone who learns,
in shadow, the real shape of brightness.

One response to “William Reichard, “An Open Door”

  1. damn! the whole sun and shadow thing is kind of eerie

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