Photo taken by Derek Stafford
St. Mary's Church in Prestbury, Gloucestershire, England 1990.


In nomine Patris et Filii…

the blizzard of your rationalizations
stings my eyes, filling them with frost, and
leaving me blind to see you
in sanctified service past or future resurrection.

like an arctic blast, your casual contempt engulfs me,
contempt for me, for us, for them.
it freezes my voice into crystal shards of glacial ice.
I am speechless, all alleluias frozen hard.

but tomorrow, tomorrow we will turn away.
we will seek asylum, hunker down, and take shelter.
we will lay logs of our own worth on the dying embers of our souls.
we will speak out, and live, and love, and be warm again.

not you.

with each unspoken brutality,
invited in and made at home and kept safe from prying eyes,
decay takes up residence within you,
setting up housekeeping and putting its feet up.

the canker of cruelty within you
festers and oozes, reeking of hypocrisy and ego,
and leaches into every nook and cranny,
filling your essence with fetid rot.

insidious, invisible, inexorable,
like cancer, it is slowly killing you,
drooling and slavering, hungrily devouring your soul,
and leaving you for dead.



  1. i am intrigued by this piece patti...it starts and ends as a prayer with an admonition in the middle..i wonder to whom you are speaking...nice one shot...

  2. Spiritus Sancti....

    Fantastic piece of work Patti

  3. Wonderful. Goes very well with the pic too.

    My poem is here.

  4. As with the picture, so much intriguing mystery in this.
    Nicely done.

  5. Wow, Patti...this one is sharp and cuts going and coming, to a pinpoint and in a wide swath. Well done! :)

  6. OH my... This is a kinda scary prayer...Yet wonderfully written


  7. Wow. You'd be REALLY scary if you knew how to do voodoo.


    When I was a little boy I wanted to be a priest. A Maryknoll Missionary, actually. Ah, but then I found out what the word 'Celibacy' meant.

    The only thing I have left of that desire to be a priest is the occasional replacement of a sarcastic "Sorry about that" with and equally sarcastic "In nomine Patre et Fili et Spiritu Sancti, Amen." Which has been known to earn me a mild punch in the arm from the spousal unit, if she's within range.

  8. I get a sense of empathy towards the contemptuous one, hoping that he will turn away from this path.

    (I'm sure nobody minds if it's an older poem... everything old is new again)

  9. wow...wouldn't want to be the "you" you're referring to. super!

  10. Solemn and haunting prayer, one feels the emotion in every vivid word. Quite, quite beautiful.

  11. phew..that was a deep, amen....loved the following stanza

    like an arctic blast, your casual contempt engulfs me,
    contempt for me, for us, for them.
    it freezes my voice into crystal shards of glacial ice.
    I am speechless, all alleluias frozen hard.

    that was so well written, i am glad you dug it out for One Shot..cheers pete

  12. Yes, this just says it all. I have felt the same way, so betrayed. The fall of Catholicism pulled the pins of faith out from under so many. The realization of corruption is slow to set in and one asks why didn't I see it when the nun just about broke my hands with the hickory pointer just because my penmanship wasn't perfect at ten. Why didn't I stand up and scream, "you can't abuse me this way" and how that pales to the abuse we now know about.
    Great capture here. I understand. Thank you. Gay

  13. This is powerful, Patti, and almost clinical in the cold detachment and observation of something decaying from its own abuse. So well written.

  14. Sometimes it's fun to dust off an old post and see how it plays to the crowd today. Truth be known...that's what I did last week.

  15. This reads like the admonishing of the Catholic Church and its stonewalling of the pedophilia issue. Strongly worded and I can 'feel' the seething beneath the words as the mood changes in the poem.

  16. wow, patti, that is a strong one - i have found both the sinful and sorrowful in catholicism - mystical and messed up - raised in it - leaving out of it - the words "in nomine patris" - still touch me and cause me pray...but then i was never hurt by the church..bkm

  17. Brian: Oh, not too hard to guess. It's more of an accusation than an admonition.

    G-Man: Thank you, Galen.

    KB: Thank you. I wish I could take credit for the picture. I thought it was perfect too.

    Anthony: Thanks. I’m glad it has a mysterious feel.

    Tracy: Thank you. I couldn’t help but let it be sharp. It practically wrote itself.

    Jingle: thank you.

    Dulce: I never really felt it as a prayer, but I see that it kind of turned into that, didn’t it? Thanks for coming.

    Lou: A little Latin is a dangerous thing. It’s gotten me in trouble too.

    Eric: I lost my empathy and hope for a turn away from the dark side a long time ago. Thanks for coming.

    Caty: Thank you for visiting. I’m glad you liked it.

    Sam: Thank you for that. I’m very flattered.

    Pete: Glad you liked it. Interesting that we took a similar path this week.

    Claudia: Thank you. I’m very honored if I could render such a talented wordsmith speechless. That’s OK, though. I rather like “Wow.”

    Gay: It is amazing that no one spoke up, and more amazing how many in a position to do something today are so heavily invested in denial and cover-up. I have the same scars left at the hands of the nuns. I’ve never quite gotten over the humiliation I suffered when a nun turned me over her knee and paddled me with a ruler in front of the whole class, in 2nd grade! And that was just the beginning. One wonders just how many of us they drove away with their cruelty and hypocrisy.

    Monkey Man: The first time around, not many saw this, so it was pretty safe to play it again. Thanks for coming.

    Mark: You nailed it. And yes, I seethe inside.

    bkm: I really believe that “religion” and belief are not the exclusive purview of any organized church. They are what lies within. But that being said, kind of like the Marines, they do a great job of programming. This is especially true if they have us as children. I still have all sorts of emotional responses to many of the cues.

    Everyone: Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I really appreciate them.

  18. oh woww...this was dark and powerful, Patti!!
    The rendition was excellent!
    Yes, evil will decay, and goodness and love and purity will outlast anything!

    Beautifully written, my dear friend... Bravo!!!

  19. Wow, Patti! An incredible poem. Not so much a prayer as a powerful indictment of Holy Mother the Church ...

    When you said we could swap stories on the nuns, you really meant it. I have some sadness, I don't have anger though.

    An intriging contribution to One Shot. Thank you! What a fine poet you are.

    May all sentient beings find peace.

  20. Kavita: Thank you so much. Very kind words indeed. If I can somehow translate strong emotion into words (with none of the expletives that yearn to be free), I'm a happy camper. It's not always something I can do successfully, though. I'm glad it succeeded here. You caught the emotion perfectly.

    Jamie: Thank you, my friend. Yes, an indictment, one that probably has about as much impact as the legal ones did.

    I do have anger, but it is less on my own behalf than on the behalf of those children who were so abused and left scarred for life by someone who is supposed to represent goodness and purity. In comparison, the meanest of the nuns were virtual saints.

    I join you in wishing peace.

    Thank you for your continued support. I so appreciate it, and you!

  21. Incredible! I love all those frozen images. This is really an impressive piece.

  22. That's telling him. But I like to think even those whose essence is filled with the bitterness of their own contempt can be saved.

  23. Sorry Patti been sick so just getting around to commenting. All i can say is am intrigued by your words and pretty scared out of my wits, felt like you were exorcising my crazy wild demons out of me haha.. and do follow i will do the same, see you soon :)

    Wild Rose~


Thoughts? I would love to hear from you.