It sits off the Ruidoso highway
that takes skiers and campers in season,
White washed adobe, red tile roof
and bell that tolls parishioners to prayer.
Sainted stain glass windows flash
rainbow colors from pure sunlight.
The frocked padre blesses holy water and the poor box.
A bare path winds through the resting dead
to the ancient door.
Ava Marias echo off walls and
the Twelve Stations.
Forgiveness prayers from the kneeling
offered before the body and blood,
Worship ritual unchanged from centuries,
Gives hope to those with little,
Except in this hallowed place.

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Norm Rourke

In addition to writing and performing poetry, I have been a staff writer for Persimmon Hill and The Ketchpen, publications of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. I have also been contributing writer and columnist for the Oklahoma News Weekly and have written pieces for the Sapulpa (OK) Daily Herald. I was also a columnist for the Henryetta (OK) Free Lance. I’m currently a contributor to the Oklahoma Observer (Oklahoma City) and I write for the Okmulgee (OK) News Network online publication. I’m also been a book reviewer for Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com and for other publications. I am a freelance writer and offer professional editing and communications consulting services for creative writers and business communicators. I organized a writers group—Okmulgee County Writers Roundup—and am past president of the Friends of Okmulgee Public Library. Named to the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels by the governor of that state, I have lived in and written about places in New Mexico, Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma.

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