Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee

April 7, 2017

(from “The Hymn of Joy” set to the final movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9)


God of glory, Lord of love;
        This is our favourite hymn.
        We learn it on the piano.
        Our fingers still remember how.
        We know all the words.


Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee,
        Our parents were married to this song.
        Mother sewed her own wedding dress.
        Father bought her a ring encrusted with emerald.


Opening to the Sun above,
        There are 12 stained glass windows
        throughout the sanctuary. We count them.
        alpha, omega, burning bush, chalice.
        Above the narthex on the balcony—
        a dove, olive branch in its beak.
        Dead flies collect on the window sills.
        We pluck off their wings and let the light shine
        through—green, red, blue.


Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
        After church, we stick our fingers
        in the candles at the pulpit.
        Let the wax dry.
        Peel it off with our teeth.


drive the dark of doubt away;
        I know you are hiding
        behind the cross
        behind the curtain.
        I can see your shiny shoes.


Giver of immortal gladness,
        We hide a package of Oreos
        in the bell tower.
        Pretend to go to Sunday School.
        Return to our family pew
        with black dust on our faces.


fill us with the light of day!
        Our father has reminded us
        he wants to be buried to this song.

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