Speechless

seconds
less than a minute
time it takes to cross threshold
from one room to another
life changes

voice stolen
gone
unexpected words
spoken in anger
have power to stop any motion
power to steal any utterance
vocalization
a thing of the past
articulation arrested
stunted
swallowed in disbelief

frantic heartbeat
racing thoughts
no sound escapes lips
seared together
saliva fled along with speech

flaming cheeks
follow flash of insight
no rebuttal will be justly heard
knowledge of necessary decision
crystal clear
in order to save
authentic self

Gate Keepers

Pieter_Janszoon_Saenredam_Interior_of_the_Church_of_St_Bavo_in_Haarlem

(Image by Pieter Janszoon Saenredam)

The gatekeepers raise their sleepy heads
They have been dormant a long while
Many years have passed since anyone has crossed the threshold
Their curiosity is more intense than any fear that the visitors
may cause harm

The sentinels observe silently from the shadows
Maintaining their invisibility
They want to take in all they can before their presence is made known
Perhaps they will choose to remain in the shadows
A silent whisper in the corner
Or a large drop dripping off a soaring column

The visitors drop their voices to a hush as they enter the vaulted chamber
They cannot see any sign of life
The gatekeepers are well hidden
Still the transients sense another energy surrounds them
A flicker of the torch
A coolness across the cheek

Walls are looked at with awe
Painted fresco moves and dances in the firelight of the torch
Brought to life briefly with the illumination
Carved sculptures flow smoothly as light and eyes pass over them

The gatekeepers are content to allow the visitors to wander
They are moving with care and respect
Stepping carefully, touching softly
Whispering prayers of thanksgiving and homage
To deities of their own

As they retreat the gatekeepers scan the grotto and see
All is as it should be
Content that all is in order
They allow their heads to droop and close their sleepy eyes

(Inspired after visiting Oude Kerk Amsterdam circa 1605)