Contents: UU World Back Issue

We build temples in the heart

by Patrick Murfin

We have seen the great cathedrals,
  stone laid upon stone,
  carved and cared for
  by centuries of certain hands;
seen the slender minarets
  soar from dusty streets
  to raise the cry of faith
  to the One and Only God;
seen the placid pagodas
  where gilded Buddhas squat
  amid the temple bells and incense.

We have seen the tumbled temples
  half-buried in the sands,
 choked with verdant tangles,
 sunk in corralled seasó
 old truths toppled and forgotten.
We have even seen the wattled huts,
 the sweat lodge hogans,
 the wheeled yurts,
 and the Ice Age caverns
 where unwritten worship
 raised its knowing voices.

But here we build temples in our hearts.
Side by side we gather.

We mix the mortar of the scattered dust
  of the Holy of Holies
  with the sacred water
  of the Ganges;
lay Moorish alabaster
  on the blocks of Angkor Wat
  and rough-hewn Stonehenge slabs;
plumb Doric columns for strength of reason,
  square them with stern Protestant planks,
  and illuminate all with Chartres' jeweled windows
  and the brilliant lamps of science.

Yes here we build temples in our hearts.
  Side by side we come,
  scavenging the ages for wisdom,
  cobbling together as best we may
  the stones of a thousand altars, leveling with doubt,
  framing with skepticism,
  measuring by logic,
  sinking firm foundations in the earth
  as we reach for the heavens.

Here we build temples in our heartsó
  a temple for each heart,
  a village of temples,
  none shading another,
  connected by well-worn paths,
  built alike on sacred ground.

 Contents: UU World Back Issue
: 22

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