About Kathleen Ripley Leo
Kathleen Ripley Leo

The Circle is AssembledThe Old Ways

Town One South


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by Kathleen Ripley Leo

The timbre of the song wells forth, swells forth in the incensed space,
the notes tangle in the alabaster, riding up the airlifts,
the swirl of dust in the air, the crackle of parchment psalters,
I sing from the ambo without a piano, without a microphone,
and my voice plays with the vaulted walls and ceilings of St. Mary's
who throws its echoes back,
and back and forth we create the sound that hides and whispers
in the back reaches of the body. Out of sync,
in sync, out of sync, in sync, until like a breath from
a living animal I feel the pulse of its breath, the sharps
and flats of living faith.
The setting of notes pirouettes around a column,
peers hopefully into the bones of a reliquary,
sinks into the baptismal font, sucks bravely under the pews
and climbs up unfalteringly into the levels
of the three tiered altar. It is a charge and a retreat, a holding and a
pushing away. The flesh of the church responds, the blood
of the church is a symbiosis of sound licking
at the stained glass, sniffing at the stations of the cross.
The cornices uncurls at the top of the columns
and my chest lifts, the roof lifts,
The light on the tabernacle burns,
my ribs expand, the nave swells.

Kathleen Ripley Leo
(c) 1998 Leo

Other featured poems by Kathleen Ripley Leo

Pole Barn
Nawrot-Aron Poems
Where Truth Lies

Foot Massage
Flower Picture
Up, Over the Steep Hill
The Familiar
The Kiss