Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
I Walked in the Open
By Francis Howard Williams
I WALKED in the open, seeking God,
And came where men had builded them a church with windows of multi-colored glass to balk the sunlight.
And there had they fashioned them an altar of mysterious recesses and many steps, of gradations and curtained sanctities wherein dwelt silence and a sense of fear.
I looked upon a cross of beaten gold, and candles flaming dully through the dark,
And all the corners in the church were dim, and all the aisles mysterious with strange shadows.        5
A priest held high a crucifix, and my soul seemed listening to the voice of his soul:
“God is in there. We’ve shut Him up. He’s back of that veil.
“See how the candles blink. It’s God’s breath makes them do that.
“Here’s our creed. We’ve shut God up in that too—
“Say it over and over and you’ll come to believe it.        10
“Then shall you save your soul alive;
“Then shall you creep on your knees into the marble chancel, and you may see a corner of the veil that covers the Sanctus Sanctissimus.
“The veil hides the face of God; it screens the awful majesty of the Most High.
“That’s as near as you may hope to come to seeing God.
“You would be stricken blind if you were to look upon Him.        15
“But He’s in there. We’ve shut Him up.”
And all the while God and I stood outside in His blessed sunlight and laughed.

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