The Caretaker

by Alastre Zidler

I. the waiting

i am the priest of you
i am your devotion
i scatter prayers like rose petals
at the foot of your derelict temple

by day i tend your gardens and
wash your temples walls clean
of blasphemies some nonbelievers
have claimed i do so in vain

at night I cry my mantra
it scrapes across the locked
and boarded temple doors on its
way to dear empty heaven

i am your devotion
i am kneeling outside your temple

II. the suffering

i have watched unclean men enter
your temple

how many men have tainted
your altar
have flayed your innocence
with dirty hands
have robbed your sacred places
left you bereft
of compassion

i search for that yet consecrated
i search for the hidden among the fouled
and crumbled

i am your devotion
i am kneeling outside your temple
for I may never know that which
they have taken

the warmth of you

III. the longing

though i cannot
sense you i
know you
stand beside me

though aloof

my immolation:
i have naught but icon
and stained glass
left to speak of you

the greatest test of discipline
of faith
the feel the cold void
of your presence each day
to sleep alone outside
your door
to continue the wait
to surrender pride
and self-importance
in the religion that my
unwavering piety to you
has become

i am your devotion
i am kneeling outside your temple
for i am caretaker here
though i may never in my life
be allowed inside


Posted on 03/10/2004
Copyright © 2022 Alastre Zidler

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Ashok Sharda on 03/15/04 at 01:21 PM

Well, I see a beauty in this hopeless devotion. An INTENDED ACT despite the external provoking a reaction. This devotion sounds like the embodiment of the myth of Sisyphus, who was condemned to carry a rock on to the summit of a steep mountain and the rock falling back again and again, with the courage imbibed with passion and pain, fully aware of the absurdity and the labour in vain, he climbed back again and again.

Posted by Alison McKenzie on 07/09/04 at 02:01 PM

Oh, I'm crying. The devotion, the obsession, the love. Oh.

Posted by Mo Couts on 02/13/12 at 12:05 AM

Oh my...this is more beautiful than my mere words can come close to expressing; thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this with us; a gem!

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