Found in the Archives

Recently found in the archives of Scarritt Bennett Center were several poems written by Elizabeth Watson regarding Wightman Chapel.  It is assumed that Miss Watson was a student, but that is yet unverified and no date is known. Even so, the poems express the sacred nature of the chapel. During this season of Lent, I think these poems are worth sharing and may inspire you to write of your sacred places.


The Chapel                                                                 The Chapel Doors

The chapel                                                                  The chapel doors are beauty-carved,

Holds the fragrances                                                  The chapel doors swing wide,

Of many years of prayers,                                         That he whose mind is seeking God,

And lingering incense floats,                                       May find a peace inside


From worshipping of myriad hearts;                           A peace of twilight fragrances,

The mellow walls                                                         Of music starred with prayer,

Smile softly at their golden memories,                        A peace that helps the weary heart,

And breathe upon receptive souls                              To find God’s presence there.

A gentle benediction;

“God is here.”


Shadows                                                                     Canticle

As I sit                                                                         The sunlight

Within the chapel,                                                        Plays upon the windows

And look                                                                      Of the chapel –

Up                                                                               Those windows high,

At the high, stained windows,                                     All arched and stained

I cannot see                                                                With beauty,

The trees beyond,                                                      And, as it plays

Yet                                                                               It brings forth

I am sure                                                                     Music,

That trees are there.                                                   All day long

Because?                                                                    Its notes are wrought

Because their lacy shadows move                            In harmony divine –

In rhythmic grace                                                        The clear, keen bars

Across the panes,                                                      Of early morning,

And thus it is                                                               And mellow lyric

Within that temple                                                        Of the noon,

Of my spirit-                                                                With hushed hosannas

I see not God,                                                             Of the evening vespers,

Yet know His presence                                              Merge into

As,                                                                               A glorious anthem,

With grateful, healing touch,                                        Lifted to

There falls                                                                   The great Musician.

Across my weary day

The shadow of His wing.

May your Lenten journey be full of courage, hope and the sense of God’s continued presence as you once again approach Easter with your soul refreshed and renewed. Think on the sacred places in your life!


Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, quarterly retreats, and art exhibits.

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