This was the first version of the poem, but I prefer the second, more imagist version.
I cross a wooden bridge to the grove.
Beneath the cowl of branches and leaves,
Quiet becomes more so.
My breathing slows.
Along the way, birds flit in the canopies,
As if signaling a path to be taken–
Too quick to be seen, and otherwise silent.
Soon, shafts of sunlight show the center,
Rood trees for a steeple house.
I pause before entering:
At my feet, one flung by an angel,
His broken verge stretching into murk.
Once inside, the center is almost a clearing,
A circle of trees profoundly mute,
Their ancient boles hallowed by fire.
I am brought to my knees looking upwards,
Looking upwards to a pinnacle
Where crowning meets the light,
In a speck of Eden preserved.
Is any human permitted witness?
I sense a commandment
Into the bark of every tree.
As I bow my head,
My wisp of breath becomes a nothingness.
The border of a shadow-land surrounds me.
Unavoidably, it awaits.