Poetry Submission

Submitted By

Patrick Hansel

Minneapolis, MN, United States


When we did the bird survey last spring, we noticed how many barn swallows and sparrows had their nests high above the front door of our church–tucked in little corners where a big hawk could not get in





It’s not hard to find a spot
to build your nest on the old
church roof. After all, the
psalm says “even the sparrow finds
a home, and the swallow a nest
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O LORD of hosts”.
The problem is finding a spot
where the red-tailed hawk,
who claims heaven and earth
as his supermarket, cannot
ravage with his fearsome talons.
Perhaps this is why, a century
ago, the Swedes decided to
add these parapets, niches,
cornices and mini-gables high
above the rose window: not
to make it impossible to paint
without a helicopter and a Tom
Cruise stuntman hanging from
a cable, but to build a haven as
close to heaven as wooden
ladders and scaffolds allow;
for they knew—for winged
as well as biped beasts—that
blessings are passed from
generation to generation and
that a good home to raise your
little ones is a legacy that will
not be forgotten, a kindness
that will spread over the wide earth.

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