1 The constraints: 1) No more than
one hour. 2) No more than 20 lines.
The result ? Genius or Not.


07 August 2010

By Robert Selby | 2010 August 07

Written after a visit to St Bartholomew's Church, Orford, and all did happen.

Simple Notes

Here we are where we were an hour ago;
the clock’s hour observance one chime longer;
the beam of light through the stained glass west window
altered. A young girl, believing herself
alone, though excited at the possibility
of unseen ears, enters, sits at the piano,
and plays some pieces from the movies.  

The stained glass-refracted light, the dust motes
and the playing interact from contiguous realms;
we sit in the choir stalls, listening, resting
after a turn of graveyard and attendant,
sheep-mown grounds.
The light beam is moving, but only when
we incline our heads as if in prayer.  

From the candle at the altar’s north end,
the light beam at cortege-pace has moved –
from what I can make out through my hair –
till glinting in full glory off the cross,
as if to prove our secret audience,
the girl’s playing, is fitting reverence;
they – not made to measure by service  

order, hymnal, or Amen: Just the sweet,
simple notes from music’s prodigal son,
the piano, and the dust motes falling
from hammer-beams to kneelers depicting
local trades, associations, and landmarks.
We are equal parts in the same scene,
as are all things, always, under this roof;  

like the martyr or saint or He Himself
and the WI lady up a ladder
with a duster, keeping them pristine,
or the tearful visitor begging them for proof.

Church, Music

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