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Late at night, after Youth Group

imgp9866_edited-1This evocative poem, which many youth ministers will resonate with, was written by Andrew Horne, a priest in the diocese of Calgary. It is printed here with his permission.

Late at night, after Youth Group

Stef and Eliza curled on the couch
and me sprawled on the carpet below.

We are the Dead, or nearly so
the wounded after battle, condemned

to gravity, no further to fall.
parents have taken the voices home.

the shrill 12-year-old screams, the scheming
of hide-and-seek and capture-the-flag

the pleading for yet more cookies and milk
and, most devastating of all

the audacious innocence of their prayers
echoing. Echoing still. We are

a church emptied of everything
but God. We are the worship afterwards

when the organ pipes have hushed, the lights
switched off, the doors dead-bolted twice

and everyone gone home – but a bird
has been locked inside, unknown to all

but God, rejoicing among the rafters.
Are we the bird, or the almost empty

church, or the feathered fluttering air?
I don't know. I am tired. It is late.

Stef and Eliza curled on the couch
and me sprawled on the carpet below,

it is late at night, after Youth Group.
In a moment, soon, I will stand, I will say

goodnight to these good friends, and then
refusing a lift, will walk myself home

silent between new-fallen snow
and the mood flirting behind dark clouds

her dance-of-the-seven-veils. I will move
from love, towards my love. I will carry

my mind like a chalice, warm with wine
through this cold night, and will not stumble.

Andrew Horne
Huron College
June 2008

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