Magazine | June 27, 2016, Issue

Poetry

ALTAR

The altar of the great cathedral

brings indoors something of the majesty

of the open sky, as the architect

lifts the eyes of all from the altar

to the wide beauty and precision

of the ceiling, jeweler’s art in the sky,

a world, in its refinement and artistry,

of museums as much as of worship.

This is a hallowed ground far different

from the wilderness altar of Moses,

his burnt offering at the high place

at Gibeon. It is our place to be

grateful for different gifts at different times.

From a heritage of thousands of years,

of the written word, saints, orthodoxies;

of priests, interpreters, wars, revisions,

and renewals; worship wears very

different vestments from the rough cloth of

religion hewn from the desert, from the

wilderness, where orthodoxies are tribal,

and living by cohesion essential for

survival of both group and individual.

Weather permitting, the greater gift lies

with a cross lashed together from sticks,

deep in the forest, upon an altar

simple as a fallen log, brushed clean;

its moment of clarity, silence, and

prayer, through the tall trees, where great

shafts of light are the majesty of Heaven;

and the hand of man, an afterthought.

In This Issue

Articles

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

Spiritual Self-Interest In the Week (April 11), a comparison between King David and Donald Trump was made. In describing David’s braveness, it was written: “As a boy, David fought his way ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Trump U. charged outrageous sums for worthless instruction, left graduates woefully unprepared for the job market, and bombarded students with meaningless jargon and self-affirming slogans. Sounds like a legit ...
Athwart

Secret Agent Woman

In case you haven’t been following the important debates on the Internet this year, people are wondering why James Bond can’t be a woman and why Captain America can’t be ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

ALTAR The altar of the great cathedral brings indoors something of the majesty of the open sky, as the architect lifts the eyes of all from the altar to the wide beauty and precision of the ...

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Yes, They Are Coming for Your Guns

At the Democratic-primary debate in Houston last night, Beto O’Rourke formally killed off one of the gun-control movement’s favorite taunts: The famous “Nobody is coming for your guns, wingnut.” Asked bluntly whether he was proposing confiscation, O’Rourke abandoned the disingenuous euphemisms that have ... Read More
White House

Politico Doubles Down on Fake Turnberry Scandal

It's tough to be an investigative reporter. Everybody who feeds you a tip has an axe to grind. Or, alternatively, you find yourself going, "I wonder if . . . ?" You put in your research, you talk to lots of people, you accumulate a huge pile of information, but you still haven't proved your hypothesis. A wise ... Read More
White House

Rachel Maddow’s Turnberry Tale

To a certain kind of Rachel Maddow viewer, there are few more titillating preludes to a news segment than the one she delivered Monday: “If you have not seen it yet, you are going to want to sit down.” Maddow’s story began, as many of her stories do, with President Trump, this time focused on his hotel ... Read More
Culture

Four Cheers for Incandescent Light Bulbs

It brought me much -- indeed, too much -- joy to hear of the Trump administration's rollback of restrictions on incandescent light bulbs, even if the ban will remain in place. The LED bulbs are terrible. They give off a pitiable, dim, and altogether underwhelming "glow," one that never matched the raw (if ... Read More