Atop Holy Hill

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A Poem By Gerald Alan Ney

Atop Holy Hill     11/21/07
[October 2006 after Mom's funeral]

Listen to the Quiet,
The pregnant silence…
A tangible tactile touch
To the ear.
The bustle below
Unseen and unheard;
Only the sibilant softness
Of windborne mist
Almost disturbs the spell,
Barely on the radar,
A slight moist kiss
On the cheek,
Like a parent tucking in
Sleeping children.
Light and shadow
Play tag below
Under formless clouds
Pursuing a late afternoon
Autumn sun.
Woods, red, green and gold
Merge into dun, tawny fields,
All fading to grey horizons,
The city and lake hid
Beyond the divide's ridge.
It's quiet inside too.
Just the slow shuffle of feet
And soundless prayers
Of the day's last pilgrims.
But it's the subtle
Intense presence of place
Outside, that's engraved
On my soul's memory,
Tying me back
To where I'm from
Though Mom's now gone.

[A conical glacial kame, Holy Hill is the highest point in southeastern Wisconsin, overlooking woods, fields and new McMansions and is crowned by a twin spired church that's a blend of Gothic and Romanesque and home to the National Shrine of Our Lady Help of Christians. The subcontinental divide separating Atlantic bound streams from the Gulf bound lies 10 miles east, halfway to downtown Milwaukee on Lake Michigan.]

- Gerald A. Ney