Thursday, 21 March 2013


Mesmerism, yes?
Or is it merely
And a shy heart’s frail simplicity,
That draws us implacably on our way
Through ragged, empty streets on Sunday

To church; with sad, grey, oaken doors
And soaring, leaded, half-round windows,
Which, kneeling, lift our gaze from polished floor
And rough-planed painted panels in rows.
Prayer books from habit fall open wide
To words: poignant, incantatory, apposite.

At our backs, a craning gallery replete
With choristers, like warblers circled,
Trembling organ to rouse us to our feet,
Then a Mozart aria delicately prised,
To arrest the pew-drift of aimless thought
And turn us each inside out.

Likewise the sermon may near eviscerate,
Unless with cloth ears we deftly feint,
Till in relief we sprinkle coins upon the plate.
May we ever be accounted saints?
By our betters we are scourged;
If but for now, our conscience purged.

A Wesley hymn, to clear our lungs,
Then in slow steady words to profess
Such precious, gentle longings
As make the Prayer of Humble Access.
We live in the world, we bear its taint,
We may never be accounted saints.

Restored to our dull, temporal state,
We socialize with coffee half-strength,
Chatter, laughter, anecdotes to relate
God nor yet at arm’s length.
Sunlight pierces the cloud-burdened sky.
Homeward! Halleluiah! We are alive!