Paternoster Lakes

Ryan Halligan_poetry

Paternoster Lakes

looking down on the Grinnell Valley, Glacier National Park, Montana


Five blue pools of water in the mountains

sewn together by strings of icy streams—

half-decade of the rosary, or full

if each bead counts twice.

Dammed by moraines dropped by moving masses


of ice, each could be its own mystery.

Above the green and red strips of sediment

lies a lonely frozen tarn that showers

the four beads below.

Snow drifts block its path from unsure footfalls.


But glacier lilies finish the prayer,

trail receding ice, lift the spring up slopes

with their golden crowns, delicate heads bowed

until dormancy,

when they’ll store the spark in bulbs.

Ryan is a writer living and working in the Philadelphia area.  He holds an MA in Writing Studies from Saint Joseph’s University and writes poetry and creative non-fiction.