in the Summer heat,
we cycled through villages
while the churches became an obsession.
We savoured the smell of long use,
the sense of an old emptiness
hinting at presence,
and cursed the parish priest who changed a jot.
All this, we felt, was home grown here,
rooted as the apple orchards;
not our Victorian pastiche
pulling itself up by it’s own bootstraps,
full of order and amnesia.
The next Sunday
a Corpus Christi procession
trailed through the woods
behind a swaying shrine.
Our ravenous video wolfed it down.
God slipped into the geography like an eel.
That evening I kept quiet
swallowing farmhouse ‘calva’
while our stout Welshman with Tridentine views,
poured 'hwyl' on the flames.
‘calva’ = Calvados, a spirit distilled from cider.
‘Tridentine’ = refers to the old rite of Mass in Latin, now rarely used.
‘hwyl’ (say ‘hoo-ill’): a Welsh word in common use among English speakers in Wales. One of its meanings is ‘high spirits’.
The Green Dragon No 7, Summer 1998
Another poem by this author:
Castles of Bones
An article by this author:
James Clarence Mangan