Thursday, August 28, 2014

Finally a Winner - A Poem about an Iconic Structure

The January Challenge (you can see it in more detail in the archive section of this blog) was a poem about an iconic structure. The judges determined that no poem submitted by the deadline was a winner, so the challenge was left open for several months. Several weeks ago, I sent Jim Lambert, one of the original judges, the additional poems that have been submitted and Richard C. Green was declared the winner.

Richard had commented in his email, “Here is my poem based on the iconic churches of St. Denis and Chartres, a suggestion of the inspiration for Gothic architecture, with its opening up of space and light, replacing Romanesque.” Here is his poem:

The Abbot in Autumn
Abbot Suger surely stood
Beneath an aisle of ancient trees
And marveled at its height,
Its rise and great limbs arching
Upward to a light-filled vault.
Green, yellow, red, orange,
Bright blue between,
Traceried with twigs
Dissolving in the
Mystical light.
Let us have
No more tunnels,
Catacombs shutting
Out the sky, stone dark.
Sursum Corda!
Let in the forest lights
Above naves of trunks,
Groves of trunks in piers,
Slender trunks in colonettes
Lifting leafy capitals, ribs, liernes
Into that vibrant spectrum

~ Richard C. Green

The Basilica of St. Denis near Paris is named for the man legend says was the first bishop of Paris. The site occupied by the church was originally selected for the tomb of Bishop Denis. It was a simple structure, nothing like the large basilica found at that location today.

Sometime before 637, a Benedictine Monastery was built there. Dagobert I, King of the Franks from 628-637, built an Abbey on the site. Suger, mentioned in the poem, was Abbot in the 1200s. He is responsible for the construction of the Gothic structure celebrated in the poem. St. Denis was the burial place of numerous French kings and queens. It became a pilgrimage site in the 5th century. You can read more of the history of the Basilica of St. Denis and see photos of it at,, and other places on the Internet. For information on Chartres Cathedral, see

Richard C. Green taught art and art history and is now painting and writing poetry. He maintains copyright on his poem.

Check on September 1 for the September Poetry Challenge. Good reading!


©  Wilda Morris