Skip to content →

Saint Joseph’s Oratory

Montréal, Québec

Didn’t I too once suck deeply from the bosom

of God? In a cathedral in a city that still succumbs

to the past, didn’t I myself see two walls lined

with canes & crutches? & the pilgrims with crooked spines,

those who were paralyzed, were they not—at least some—

healed? & didn’t I also leave with a great hum

like the St. Lawrence flooding the city gardens?

& how long after the last blast of the organ,

how long does that sound remain in the rafters

or against the dome’s peeled plaster?

& when they exhumed the saints’ corpses,

did they not still reek sweetly of roses?

& how far from the cathedral did the pilgrims walk

before they realized they still could not walk?

from Broken SpectreFind more by Jacques J. Rancourt at the library

Copyright © 2021 Jacques J. Rancourt
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Published in Jacques J. Rancourt Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.