Chapel Perilous By J. B. Toner

Two deep slow bongs, the steeple’s song
That keeps a long night vigil here
O’er slain conclaves in rainswept grave
And saints’ stone glaives and granite spears.
The nave’s dark stained-glass cave, domain
Of ravens, faintly throbs with tears
Downflung from weeping-wrung cloud-heaps
Among the sleeping stars and spheres.

The unpent groans from thunder’s throne
In sunless zones away up there—
White fire and wrack from spires of black,
The ire of crackling hosts of air.
Rain smacks the mire, attacks the tired
Old stacks of briars that catch and tear;
Wind moans through sundered stone undone
By lonely running years, stripped bare.

A catacomb, the bats’ dark home,
Where scattered bones lie everywhere,
Reverberates with turgid spates
That murmur latent formless prayers;
And gates where earthen fate, interred,
Awaits a word to break despair
Grow loam-fed grass in foaming baths
From gloam-lit paths where storm crows fare.

J.B. Toner studied Literature at Thomas More College and holds a black belt in Ohana Kilohana Kenpo-Jujitsu. He and his lovely wife live in Massachusetts and just had their first daughter, Ms. Sonya Magdalena Rose. Toner blogs at and tweets at

Published 2/14/19