Ellis always thought he'd find
giving gospel-talks each week
the pulpit's main attraction.
He need make no correction
to that opinion. He loves
the passionate gestures
and verbal acrobatics,
the flourishes and dramatics,
the whole art of altering tone.
This vagabond life, though,
Since becoming a clergyman
he has changed parishes often,
usually every third season.
He fails to comprehend the reason
and hopes soon to settle somewhere.
Not here, amidst this terminal
dilapidation, where decay's odor
fills the hall with a hint
of perdition's brimstone,
where the people, who are poor,
plant their bare feet on the dirt floor
and kick dust into the air
which, illumined by sunbeams
that shatter the crumbling steeple,
lends a false golden tint
to the walls. It's falling apart,
this place. He'll be glad to depart
it, to move to new conditions.
All in good time. Presently,
he comes to his favorite line,
climax to the current rendition
of an old yellowing sermon.
For emphasis, he points at Kent,
calling on all the young fellows,
giving them causes to atone.
The boy sees right through him.
feeling as if flesh has been rent