By Stephen Kingsnorth


Altar surround, the sanctuary -
it’s holy ground, bared soles, atone,
for I have trod with loosened thongs,
where even angels fear to tread,
and souls exposed, by spirit fed
a sentinel, saint sentry point.
Yet killing field those turbulent -
Becket, Luwum, Romero, priests,
for shame exposed, unwelcome voice,
seed martyr blood, fools, Christ their king,
with multitudes, their names unknown,
except to God, whatever creed.
Those altars stripped, not altered much.

Shunned prophets, scared, seek safety nets
in sacred havens, sanctum space,
immunity, asylum rite,
from refuse dump, safe refuge site,
till thugs, known shades, raid spirit life -
as desecrate inviolable.
Protection lost from wild attack -
yet nurture, nature’s threatened wild?
Is that how march to promised land -
this strange globe where extinctions feared,
assuming that our commonwealth -
fresh sunsets rise and fall again,
yet enemies, cast outer dark?

Dream Catcher

Feathers for the eagle height  
but also pickings, platform stilts,
the elder laid for vulture beak,
to raise both prey and prayer light   
into thermal vista scape.

The catcher, circle, cycle life,   
clear space to blow the riff chaff through,
but geometric lacing too
that meaning scenes of dreams, peace, strife,   
flit skein, the skin, cat’s cradle skim.

As old men dreams turn visions, young,  
and maintain hope for tested, tried,
it may be campfire lore will tell
of who we were, when sighs were sung,   
which then burn brightly, wind inspired.


A silky crow, sheen shine in bake,
clamped to bloat, so stabbing care -
though gas expelled, had long depart -
gorging on the offal there.
Carcase, Varanasi float,
Benares, back street he had birthed,
always moored, black ghats about
Ganges gods, slat water gloat;
lobbed for fear from funeral pyre,
shortage of pile wood supply,
limit, holy time applied.
When beak peck, dorsal stripped their share,
mantras, incense, saffron robes,
sanyasi silent in sage prayer,
that bird flopped off from bobbing lump,
near wallow slurping ash smudge flesh,
with belly wobble dignity.
Death too busy in this life.

Stephen Kingsnorth, 69, retired to Wales, UK, from ministry in the Methodist Church(following the onset of Parkinson’s Disease)has had pieces accepted by various on-line poetry sites, as well as Gold Dust, The Seventh Quarry, Allegro, The Dawntreader, & Foxtrot Uniform Poetry Magazines.

3 thoughts on “Sanctuary and Other Poems

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s