haibun
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September 2008, vol 4 no 3

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Bruce Ross


The Suffering



The old gravestones a short distance from the church seem untended. Broken stones covered with elegant long Runes lay almost against it. The church served the Catholic nunnery and their sleeping quarters were converted into the now empty adjacent hospital that offered recovery for the soldiers in one of the great wars. Today it serves a Protestant community. Inside the church a painting of the Crucifixion has the cross resting on a skull. Up on a pillar there is a light on in an otherwise empty copper helmet. When the nuns were inducted they walked through a door in one of the church's sides. Now the Vikings and nuns and soldiers are gone. Yet the pageantry of suffering and illumination, the vanity of human wishes and the suffering for purity, are still with us.

             Vadstena church
              the door of grace
            no longer open             


Republished from Moonset, spring/summer 2008 (2nd place haibun)

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