A Distant Light

The white columns stretched like pallid arms, muscled with granite, veined with carvings, scented with fear and devotion.  They pressed against the ceiling, fingers splayed into fan vaulting, creating a meadow of curved geometry.  These limbs reached high, balancing the weight of their medieval history on their dusky bones.

The noble appendages rose, met and clasped – arching over a Gothic darkness that was silent and holy.  Pilgrims once navigated this dark, scallops rattling on their hats, to leave gifts at the tomb of a murdered king.  Breathing plague and piety, they laid their ardor at his ivory feet.

A Stygian shade was cast by the cadaverous walls, built out of stolid Anglo-Saxon guilt.  There was a river of black that was cold and dense:  Hades in the interior of a cathedral.  Apse, nave and choir were subdued by a heavy gloom that blotted out the sun like a profane eclipse.

And yet, there was a distant light.  A pool of hope, glowing inside a secluded frame like a liquid, captive sunset.  Colors, rich and warm, the alloys of jewels, shone with an incandescence that blazed like an alchemist's studio.  A window of melted glass, a puzzle of amber, sapphire and ruby, beckoned from the end of a twilight journey.

It has been this way for centuries.  Pale columns braced against an inanimate sky of stone and plaster.  Walls bearing the images of saints inside them like unborn children.  Light that offered the comfort of myth and legend and that still blessed the stale, ancient air.

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7 responses to “A Distant Light

  1. Are you collecting these to be published or just beautifying Vox with your "historical prose?"I love it!

  2. "A window of melted glass, a puzzle of amber, sapphire and ruby, beckoned from the end of a twilight journey."Interesting. I am curious as to how this came to be your subject. You certainly make me want to find it and carefully peer inside.

  3. Evocative and full of strong images. I particularly love "…scented with fear and devotion".

  4. mad-tante – ah, well, thank you, but at this point they are just littering the internet. I love writing about history – it is so easy to become submerged in it. And what is writing but becoming completely lost in your subject?
    Lily Alice – I love ancient buildings. The photo here was taken when I was on tour of Gloucester Cathedral, years ago. I had also taken a photo of an abbey I had seen, destroyed, and reaching for a changing sky. But somehow this image caught at me and refused to let go.
    Red Pen – initially I had wanted to write about architecture, light, dark and color. But the post wasn't content with those and suddenly I was writing about religion, fear and death. I was pulled in all directions – it was very unruly!

  5. You imbue life into cold stone. Remarkable.

  6. I love the photo! Beautiful, as always.

  7. The first line captures it perfectly. Oh, how I love cathedrals.

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