This is a poem I wrote after a visit to Turin to venerate the Holy Shroud
I tried to lay aside the arguments
and just view the evidence before me.
Of course the case for authenticity
matters, but direct experience
is where reality and theory meet.
We stood silently in the darkened room:
thirty strangers—all travelers far from home
drawn to an ancient linen winding sheet
singed with the image of a tortured man.
As fragile as the portrait of a ghost
sketched by light it seemed. Suddenly I’m lost.
The bloodstains, the wounds, the face—I’m shaken
by the violent tenderness of the sight.
Full of dread, I’m un-mightied by the shroud.
Like death I kneel; like death, I can’t be proud.
Done, I rise into the morning, clean and white.