Tread Stones – Haiku 2023 #ThursdayDoors

Basilica Bom Jesus do Monte, Tenões, Portugal. Image credit:  © Daniela Santos Araújo

many steps one door

personal liturgies tread stones

on unseen mountains

***

Built atop a smaller 13th-century chapel dedicated to the Holy Cross, is the renaissance/baroque architecture Minor Basilica Bon Jesus do Monte (Good Jesus of The Mount). Construction on the present structure began in 1784 and was completed in 1834.

This Basilica’s “facade” is “extended” to include a pilgrimage of 573 granite steps leading to the main entrance doors (featured above). Aerial view of the steps and the Basilica below:

Basilica Bom Jesus do Monte, Braga, Portugal Image credit: reddit/eu

The total stair climb to this Minor Basilica’s modest wooden doors flanked by four Corinthian columns is 116 meters vertical.

Three successive flights of stairs lead to the Basilica’s main doors courtyard: the Portico Staircase, the Staircase of the Five Senses, and the Staircase of the Three Virtues. Featured along the way up the mount is an arboreal forest, and nineteen chapels dedicated to the Passion of Christ (stations of the Cross).

Basilica Bom Jesus do Monte, Tenões, Portugal. Image credit: Ingrid via secondhalftravels | flickr

Trivia: Those not inclined to walk up or down the hefty number of black granite stairs may use the Basilica’s “elevator” of sorts, called a funicular (red-roofed mini tram car, seen in the bottom right of the above image). 

Basilica Bom Jesus do Monte’s funicular is an attraction in its own right as it is the oldest one still in service in the world using water as balancing weights to provide its lift capabilities (circa 1882).

Wider angle Basilica Bom Jesus do Monte, Tenões, Portugal:

Basilica Bom Jesus do Monte, Tenões, Portugal. Image credit: elrutitas | Pixabay

For more doors visit – #ThursdayDoors hosted by Dan Antion, No Facilties

Tradition – A Poem in Free Verse #PoetryChallenge

Image credit: Jono Hirst | Unsplash

Black-eyed peas ‘n rice cookup pot

New Year’s tradition; hope spoonfuls

Of someday by and by,

when islands of dreams

wash ashore that pot of invisible gold;

food that earthly riches can never buy.

****

In response to Rebecca Cuningham – FakeFlamenco – January Poetry challenge. Your New Year tradition in free verse 5-7 lines #fpoemapop

Navigator, Chapter 17 – A Sunday Story

Image credit:  © LovePik

Chapter 17

“Well, that’s settled then, off you go Navigator (Isabella).” Said the twenty-eight men dressed in freshly pressed embroidered suits around the acacia wood boardroom table in Shangri-la.

Metty (Methuselah, Isabella’s guardian angel) tried to speak but his voice was silenced by someone unseen.

Then suddenly, before Isabella could ask for details of the mission, her surroundings changed…

She was alone in an empty sepulcher, and from the lack of sound, she sensed she was deep underground.

It was a dark place. Not the dark of lights turned off. But the dark of a void in a deep cavern of some kind. Isabella tried to speak, to call out…

Before she could speak— a voice spoke in Isabella’s mind:

“Be careful of your words in this place, little one. Nothing is as it seems.”

Isabella recognized the voice, it was that of her late grandmother Clemora.

Isabella smiled and kept silent.

Suddenly, the floor beneath Isabella’s feet gave way. She was for a time falling into nothingness deeper and deeper in this sort of cavern. Her flaming sword which she carried about in her half-human and half-angel bloodstream when she was alive in her physical body, materialized.

She grabbed the sword and became its hilt. Comfortably, she felt herself floating downward, still deeper and deeper into whatever or wherever she had been sent.

She then realized that there was no fresh air in this place. No oxygen at all.

Suddenly an eerie scene opened on her right…

In a strange flash of light like Dawn’s sunlight, Isabella thought she saw her apartment back in Portugal. It was sort of an old-style movie flashback scene, not in black and white, but in sepia…

…and then the aroma of her favorite coffee…brewing wafted to her nostrils and to her surprise she could smell it!

Puzzled, Isabella thought to herself. “If there is no air to breathe in this place, and if I am dead in my physical body, how is it I can smell my favorite coffee brewing…what is going on!”

Then her apartment scene faded to darkness…

Then out of the blue, Isabella suddenly felt a wave of negativity in her heart. She felt grief, anger, pain, remorse, and some other emotions she could not label.

Then her emotional cocktail was stirred up even further by depression’s tarnished spoon.

The urge to unburden her soul to speak out loud a barrage of ill-advised words was insatiable.

Further, for no reason, she began to feel bitter about her life choices. Doubting herself for selecting a life path fraught with uncertainty, one relegated to the shadows and glued together by danger.

She tried to breathe to think, but there was no air to breathe. Her emotions were consuming her mind like she had never experienced before.

Suddenly Isabella remembered her grandmother’s wisdom on mental attacks.

Isabella prayed without sound, and from her heart:

“I do not consent to this assault on my mind and intrusion into my energy/ life force. Rain down holy fire and destroy this defilement at its origin!”

As if in response to her prayer, Isabella felt peace once again. Her spy-trained mind suddenly unleashed in her thoughts a host of clues that she had missed since her arrival in Shangri-la.

As if an imaginary vise grip had removed the taunt blinders someone or something had installed in her mind’s ability to think clearly.

First, the men who claimed to be the lower level council of twenty-eight saints serving the Divine in the heavens hid their feet— both in the hookah bar, and covered by the boardroom table.

What were they hiding about their real identity, she wondered? For the real twenty-eight of the Council stood barefoot day and night before the throne of the Divine, worshipping.

Second, she noted that she was quickly whisked away from the scene of her “death.” What did they, whoever they are, not want her to see/examine about her so-called remains?

Unexpectedly…fresh air rushed in from somewhere unseen. Isabella breathed in. Hearing herself breathe, Isabella realized that she was not dead.

She exclaimed! “Holy sh_@@$, my “death” was an illusion. Even I believed it! Dear God who has this kind of power over the human mind!”

Without time to savor the moment, Isabella found herself suddenly drowning…!

Because, in response to her speech, a great three-headed beast appeared and seized her by the neck. Howling with rage, the three-headed beast pushed Isabella violently into a deep wadi which suddenly formed, in the cavern.

The water bubbled, seething, writhing as if its currents were alive. The water pulled at Isabella’s body trying to tear her limbs off. Isabella screamed in agony. Then in response to her voice…The water disappeared and…

The walls of the cavern caved in, like dirt sucked into a vacuum cleaner nozzle, to reveal a typhoon raging toward her position.

Now, she was in a wide open space no longer in the cavern. The sky was pitch black. A tidal wave, looming dark and clear almost twice her height rushed towards her at almost 30 miles an hour.

Isabella knew she could not outrun that deluge.

Suddenly as it started, the tidal wave of water disappeared.

Then, out of the darkness, she heard the sound of many hooves, of metal and of armor clanking.

In the distance, an army of warriors all with the sign of a goat on their helmets approached. The mounted horde moved faster than it seemed possible.

Leading the charge, was the one Isabella recognized from photos in Egyptian history books, a giant with the head of a goat mask with three horns, barechested with the eye of Osiris in a triangle of gold necklace. It was Baphomet more commonly known as “the embodiment of all evil…”

Meanwhile back in the boardroom in Shangri La with the twenty-eight men in embroidered suits…

Unbeknownst to Isabella, Metty was hindered from joining her on her mission because…

Metty had figured out, albeit, a moment too late, that he and Isabella were in some sort of complex illusion created by powerful persons/beings unknown. He had noted with his keen ear tuned to the sound of an angel’s choir, that the voices of these twenty-eight “persons,” were not in precise sync.

He had been restrained when he attempted to warn Isabella at the very moment that she was spirited away.

Metty, now bound in increasingly tightening chains, wriggled furiously in the wingback armchair seated around the acacia wood boardroom table with the twenty-eight men, or whoever they were, in the embroidered business suites. He spoke:

“You do realize that Isabella is very wise. She will figure out your plan “gentlemen.” I have faith that she will not fall for your schemes.”

“Ah, angel Metty you think too highly of your charge.” Said one of the twenty-eight men around Shangri La’s boardroom table, suddenly dropping all pretense of speaking in unison with his fellow teammates.

“She will figure out that it was you whoever you are for you are not the real “Council of twenty-eight”— who orchestrated what looked like her physical death. And that this (Metty twirled his head in a half circle, for he was otherwise completely chained) is an illusion for she is not really dead but alive!”

Having discovered, unbeknownst to anyone else present, that if he sat still, his chains loosened markedly, Metty ceased his movements and continued speaking;

“You did not anticipate that your plan for Isabella would backfire. Your raggedy as@_s tricks increased her abilities. Now, she is fully aware. She knows that she can become “one” with the flaming sword, and you all are afraid of her, aren’t you, you bastards. I can feel it!”

And then, Metty held his peace. He prayed silently that Isabella wherever they had sent her, had figured out that she had been lured into a trap. And not just any trap, one orchestrated by ancient forces of evil…

***To be Continued Next Sunday***

Previous Chapters:

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapters 15 & 16

Illusion – Haiku 2023

Image credit: Susan Cipriano | Pixabay

wolf moon’s distant call

moonlighting pouring moonshine

spins an illusion

****

The first full moon of the year (Wolf moon) seems close, however, today (January 6, 2023), the moon is at its furthest point away from us during its 27+ days’ orbital cycle around Earth.

Afar – Haiku 2023 #ThursdayDoors

Basilica of Our Lady of Amiens (Amiens Cathedral), Picardie France. Image credit: DCHNwam | flickr

its parts up close

veil the whole seen from afar

paints revelations

****

At twice the size of the grand Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral, the Basilica of Our Lady of Amiens (Amiens Cathedral) in Picardie is the largest completed cathedral in France. Its foundation stone was laid in 1220.

Massive wealth from the city’s coffers and elsewhere contributed to the Cathedral’s lighting-speed completion in a remarkable sixty-eight years (most cathedrals in those days took centuries to complete, if at all).

Amiens Cathedral, Central Portal – Judgement Day – Image credit: Rob Oo | flickr
Amiens Cathedral, Right portal doors – Dedicated to Mary – Image credit: Steven Zucker | flicker
Amiens Cathedral, Left portal doors – Dedicated to St. Firmin (First Bishop) – Image credit: Steven Zucker | flickr

The doors featured above and their surrounding sculptures are in impeccable shape due to, reportedly, very expensive environmentally friendly high-tech laser technology cleaning/restoration.

The technology used, not only removed centuries of dirt and grime; but, revealed some of the original 800-year-old paint that had been used to embellish the sculptures that surround these three portals.

Despite its location in the midst of danger from bombs, during World War II Amiens Cathedral somehow incurred no damage.

Reportedly, only one bomb even came close to the Cathedral. And apparently, that bomb nicked a window and fell to the nave floor’s labyrinth-patterned tiles but it failed to explode.

Trivia: Amiens Cathedral was made famous as a pilgrimage site for its role in the housing of part of the remains of John The Baptist (circa 1206).

Unsubstantiated rumors have persisted over centuries, that Amiens Cathedral was funded in large part by The Knights Templar during and after, their time of favor with the Holy Roman Catholic Church (circa 1128).

Amiens Cathedral (East Side), Wider angle below:

Amiens Cathedral, East Side – Image credit: JoAnn Miller | flickr

Because of its immenseness, ground-level photos do little justice to the Cathedral’s gothic grandeur. An aerial view below:

Amiens Cathedral, Picardie France – Image credit: BB 22385 | Wikimedia CC 4.0

***

For #ThursdayDoors – Hosted by Dan Antion – No Facilities

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