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.