The Lonely Sentinel at Old Dorsey Church

Old Dorsey Church
Old Dorsey Church

“Leave the GPS in the SUV” I tell my grandson

We stroll down the old road, abandoned two score years

Since the floods of Agnes’ wrath broke its path

Slowly reclaimed by nature.

“Don’t you just love it here, Kiddo? In future years

Walk along this path. Think of me, watching above

Enjoying your walk in nature.”

“Gramps, where are we going?”

“Walk, not talk.”

Sycamores lit by summer sun in boggy lowland ashore of Patapsco

Reverting forest, thick with leaves from ground to hidden sky.

Half the macadam torn off by nature’s bath

Kiddo’s foot sinks into a rotten trunk sprawled across the old road

The rounded wood painted green with moss

Yellow mushrooms widening cracks, forest stalks and purpled sticky flowers

No parishioners down this trail for a double score of years.

Dragonflies, mosquitoes, and butterflies,

The gentle roar of today’s placid stream.

Unnatural, flat upright surfaces beyond many trees

Kiddo ran up the muddy slope


To glimpse the ancient church.

He stopped, before the door

Concrete walls alive with graffiti.

I puffed up to stand by Kiddo.

A tree grew out the sunken floor of Old Dorsey Church,

Its trunk vaulted through the long-gone ceiling

Low branches and greenery crowded the hallowed interior.

Kiddo hopped across the eroded gap through the door-less entry.

Above the graffiti walls, in the steeple window darkness

A shadowed darkness loomed amid the dappled sunlight of mid summer

From its elevated perch, a large winged figure dropped down.

The turkey vulture swooped down to Kiddo’s hair.

He jumped back. “Gramps!”

The evil omen pulled up, with a single flap of wide, black wings

It rested its claws on a branch that grew

Out a glassless window.

Turkey Vulture

Beaded eyes sank deep within the gloom of its body and the site

It watched as Kiddo ran by me to the trail and away.

The Lonely Sentinel at Old Dorsey Church had claimed a victim.

a_poem Poems

4 thoughts on “The Lonely Sentinel at Old Dorsey Church

  1. Mary, making you feel the mood and location is a big accomplishment. Thank you for the compliment.

  2. Nice, vivid descriptive language really sets the mood. I’ve never been there, but now I feel like I have.

  3. Very poignant and compelling, Bob. And, of course, I admire how you capture nature’s nooks and nuances.

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