Somewhere along the way to heaven
the music, which was lovely,
migrated from the hymnals and the church chorales
became music for its own sake
inspiring not only celestial hopes
but earthly joy.
Memorial rites became proscribed rituals;
prayer was transformed into poetry
even as the bible was morphing
into annotated metaphorical
stories for the young, and the crucifix
impaled on the wall above
our childhood beds
became a horrific symbol
of torture in living color
and plaster of paris.
We prayed to a panoply of saints
who died for their beliefs, often horribly.
Joyous. You have to wonder how many of them
at that last burning moment
repented of their holiness
and begged of their God to be restored,
left in peace in a small damp hut
at the edge of the forest
content to weave straw into brooms
for the rest of their days.