Photo by Bj Smith; request permission for use.

by Bj Smith

I often go to church and sit a leather-covered pew
there isn’t any place I think that has a better view
of mother nature’s bounty, free of false pretense
where life is full of meaning because it all makes sense

I like to take communion then of waters pure and clear
and taste the fruit of faithfulness that’s unpolluted here
then linger in the garden intertwined among the rock
blushing forth in color of the blue forget-me-not

There’s monkey pods and kitten tales and yellow butter cup
neatly spread at table settings where disciples sup
massive granite spires hazing fountains tumbling down
past the lofts where angels perch adorned in choir gown

The path is tenuous that leads me to this tabernacle
half obscure and full of burdens that I must unshackle
trails are blazed by pioneers that ventured here before
guiding me past obstacles where no one’s keeping score

The steps along the way consume tenacity and grit
exhaustion tries to change the course that’s set upon the bit
for dead fall, bog and rocky scree protect this sacred alter
from those whose moral compass, slowly slips its halter

The world’s great cathedrals of glass and wood and mortar
created by fine artisans to me seem somewhat shorter
in stature to the place I pray in solitary fate
worship wants not only those who choose to congregate

Maybe you are wondering of where it is I search
to find my place of sacrament that is my precious church
I do not peer through sifted light of tinted window panes
but rather where it’s open to the sky on guided reins

It’s when I ride among the peaks on rocky mountain high
or from my bedroll gaze upon the stars that fill the sky
I feel so insignificant, a speck upon this earth
and marvel how it is that even I might have some worth

But maybe since this sacred place is there for me to see
a purpose flooding in my heart is what inspires me
to understand that greatness isn’t always in the show
goodness done is often something only God will know

Just like the timid fairy slipper shaded by the spruce
its beauty hidden far beneath the need of human use
where mankind in its arrogance purports to rule the hour
ignoring what a miracle there is in just one flower

There is no competition here for foolish mortal man
who argue one another which religions they should ban
confusion has no sanctuary, selfish pride no rest
there is no I am better, there is no I am best

And this is not a welcome place to comfort faint of heart
exposed to nature’s elements could tear a soul apart
slashing wind and biting cold will drive me to the timber
where gnarled juniper protect me ’til my legs are limber

It’s on these peaks and ridges that I learn of compromise
and know that our redemption begs for us to harmonize
suffer not our fellow man both modern day and tribal
has always been the message that is bursting from the bible

For from an alpine pulpit, how could we preach of hate
nature in tranquility gives pause to hesitate
and see the devil down below promoting false temptation
envy, greed and disrespect that’s blinding our salvation

So it is on misty slopes I am a clergyman
astride my faithful partner, that is equestrian
I know that I am blessed more than a week has days of seven
for I’m among the lucky ones that’s rode the steps of Heaven
And so it is on misty slopes, I am a clergyman.

© 2010, Bj Smith
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without the author’s permission

Alberta outfitter Bj Smith likes to let this poem speak for itself.

We’ve posted this poem before with a this photo by Bj Smith:

bjPhoto by Bj Smith; request permission for use.

The photo at the top of this page and this photo are from a 2017 summer’s trail:


Photo by Bj Smith; request permission for use.

Find more about Bj Smith, including videos and his scheduled at his web site, The site also has a recent CD, books, and audio downloads at his site.


(Request permission for use of this poem and these photographs.)