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April 1, 2012 vol 8 no 1

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Jim Norton

At Bethel

A deserted hill-chapel: 1887. Peer through the fly-specked window, ponder the inscription in the porch:

And Jacob awakened out of his sleep, and he said, this is no other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

Picture them crowding in here, hill-people, valley folk, the gwerin shaking the rain from their Sunday best, scraping mud from their boots, perhaps glancing up. And he named that place Beth-el.

Still it reaches up
though the ceiling has fallen
Jacob's step-ladder

Note: Gerwin translates as "the folk."