Stonework is published by Houghton College, a Christian liberal arts college located in New York’s rural Genesee Valley. Stonework seeks a diverse mix of mature and emerging voices in fellowship with the evangelical tradition. Published twice a year, the journal reflects the arts community at Houghton College where excellence in music, writing, and the visual arts has long been a distinctive.

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  • Issue 6
    Poetry by Paul Willis and Thom Satterlee. Fiction and interview with Lori Huth. Essay by James Wardwell, and student poets from Christian campuses.
  • Issue 5
    Poetry by Susanna Childress and Debra Rienstra. Fiction excerpt by Emilie Griffin. Art from Houghton's 2007 presidential inauguration and a forum on women writing.
  • Issue 4
    Matthew Roth--new poems. Diane Glancy--from One of Us and an interview. John Tatter-on gardens and poetry. The Landscapes of John Rhett. Stephen Woolsey--on the poetry of Jack Clemo. James Wardwell--on Herrick.
  • Issue 3
    Poetry by Julia Kasdorf, Robert Siegel and Sandra Duguid. Fiction by Tom Noyes. The portraits of Alieen Ortlip Shea. An anthology of Australian Poets
  • Issue 2
    Thom Satterlee - Poems from Burning Wycliff with an appreciation by David Perkins. Alison Gresik - new fiction and an interview. James Zoller - Poems from Living on the Floodplain.
  • Issue 1
    Luci Shaw — new poems with an appreciation by Eugene H. Peterson & Hugh Cook — new fiction and an interview

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Spiritual Excercises in a Cellar Bookstore

~ Brett Foster

Hide me within Thy wounds, Memory,
ennoble these afternoon passions—
a busy day, register down, down on my luck,

and in the corner of the store
at the back of the Spanish section
lies my dust-covered method perfectly

at home in perused silence. The thin leaves
composing the folio barely conserve
the fading Imprimatur of Paul III.

Last Sunday just before closing
I considered his cave meditations
to rid myself of "disordered tendencies."

I sought the divine Will, and at least found
some thrill of discipline; the physical
act channeled the spiritual like a funnel,

steered everything toward a single gesture:
each time one falls into that particular
sin or defect, let him put his hand

on his breast, grieving for having fallen.

I locked the store early and knelt
below its shoebox of a window, the sky

reminding me of our peculiar kingdom,
heirs of time and eternity, a dual dominion
shared not even with angels, a "singular privilege."

After the prelude, evacutatio sensuum,
the mind spilling through the body to clear
itself, vacuous, then the terminal flare

of Conscience, applicatio sensuum, the fiery
iron of the senses branding the composition.
Each heartbeat spans eons. The halted moment

elevates my small Understanding: the smell
of sweat and blood in the midnight garden,
the vinegared sponge of Golgotha—

and I can see you too, Ignazio, fallen
soldier, leg twice broken. Last sacraments
administered at Loyola castle,

you convalesce by reading legends
on the Bay of Biscay. On the altar you hang
your sword before the Virgin and pronounce

the vow, a celibate among the emerald
fields of Monserrat, clothed in a hemless
pilgrim's robe, voice robbed by your colloquy,

then turned to sterling. Your Society
proclaims you "trainer of men." The drama
of one body's cosmography—immediate world

willed from a little book—: heart, brain, vapors;
I burst before the mass of history . . .
gold silence of the shelves, dialogue of flowers

sprouting from marrow, and the mind
like white manna resplendent in the window,
the sweet stars of Manresa moving swiftly

– previously published in Mars Hill Review