I’ve come to the Cathedral of the Prairie,
the masterpiece designed by Anton Dohmen,
but first I wander through the cemetery
where many farmers sleep, and like an omen
a dove bursts from a spruce tree. Holy Spirit,
inspire my reading. Wake the dead to hear it.
Behind the graves a field of waving barley
bearded and golden, whispers when the wind blows,
a perfect crop where spirits come to parley,
to watch great-grandsons lay it down in windrows,
Otto and Sigmund, Wilhelm, Helmut, Herman,
yeomen who built this church, most of them German;
yet here’s a Timothy and here’s a Kevin
and twin spires reaching achingly toward Heaven.
Timothy Murphy has written many books. His newest is a double volume, Mortal Stakes and Faint Thunder, from the Dakota Institute.