The Zoo Fence

I said a prayer in Nikko
before a gilded Buddha …
I said a prayer in Hangchow
before a teak Quan-Yin …
I said a prayer in Naples
before a bisque-robed Virgin
in a saint-named cathedral,
proverbially dim.

I said a prayer on the Lord’s Day
at a New England meeting —
No image for my eyes there
save, outside,
one bright-winged bird …

And though each prayer
was different, and men sought
diverse gods there,
In every place I prayed,
I am quite sure
the same God heard.

Violet Alleyn Storey


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