Spring 2011: Issue 89

Ted Kooser

Let us go out and stand for a while

in the deserted, back-country church

of an old iron bridge—plate, beam

and rusty rivet—a place of light

with lofty rafters framing heaven,

with enormous triangular windows

depicting the world in October,

with brown and yellow willow leaves

drifting onto a trickle of creek

meandering toward us on one side

and slipping away on the other—

lesson, sermon, collection and hymn—

a place through which so many lives

have passed and so many prayers

and hopes have been carried away

that now it rings with silence.

Leaves are falling. Take my hand.