Treasure Island

Richard Hugo

(1923 - 1982 / Washington / United States)

The Church On Comiaken Hill


for Sydney Pettit

The lines are keen against today's bad sky
about to rain. We're white and understand
why Indians sold butter for the funds
to build this church. Four hens and a rooster
huddle on the porch. We are dark
and know why no one climbed to pray. The priest
who did his best to imitate a bell
watched the river, full of spirits, coil
below the hill, relentless for the bay.

A church abandoned to the wind is portent.
In high wind, ruins make harsh music.
The priest is tending bar. His dreams have paid
outrageous fees for stone and mortar.
His eyes are empty as a chapel
roofless in a storm. Greek temples seem
the same as forty centuries ago.
If we used one corner for a urinal,
he wouldn't swear we hadn't worshipped here.

The chickens cringe. Rain sprays chaos where
the altar and the stained glass would have gone
had Indians not eaten tribal cows
one hungry fall. Despite the chant,
salmon hadn't come. The first mass
and a phone line cursed the river.
If rain had rhythm, it would not be Latin.

Children do not wave as we drive out.
Like these graves ours may go unmarked.
Can we be satisfied when dead
with daffodils for stones? These Indians--
whatever they once loved or used for God--
the hill--the river--the bay burned by the moon--
they knew that when you die you lose your name.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Read poems about / on: river, rain, wind, today, music, children, moon, dark, sky, god, lost, dream, child

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (The Church On Comiaken Hill by Richard Hugo )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Standard asset, gajanan mishra
  2. AnyThing In ReTurn, Kewayne Wadley
  3. If all we know is love, Mark Heathcote
  4. Remove Yourself From Bitterness, Ronell Warren Alman
  5. Fornicating In The Bowels Of Unswerving .., Captain Cur
  6. im not okay, Faith Taylors
  7. The world is like a worm, Mark Heathcote
  8. Our shared tear, Julie Shirley
  9. Conscious Peal, Adeosun Olamide
  10. Living Contradictions, Sandra Feldman

Poem of the Day

poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the heart feels a languid grief
Laid on it for a covering,
And how sleep seems a goodly thing
...... Read complete »

 

Modern Poem

poet Randall Jarrell

 

Trending Poems

  1. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  3. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  4. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  5. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  6. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  7. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  8. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  9. If, Rudyard Kipling
  10. Alone, Edgar Allan Poe

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]