Smoke Over Paris

Their Lady of Paris burnt
in one online afternoon
Her re-imagined spire
tipped to robes of smoke

like a bloodied lance
in surrender – once more –
to politics and holy battles
in a kindless fog of war

Her heated metals ran
as dark beaded sweats
from her swealing heights
to leave cooled scabs

of Saint Thomas – and others –
spattered across worn stones
under her collapsed transept
Those slabs will be saved

with high relics – rescued
from clouds above la quatrième
No puzzle of scattered ashes –
France has her couronne d’épines

The Flood

There’s a shifted density in the landscape
following your biblical month of rain –
It has been days and disturbed nights –
a battening of doors and shutting-ins

My chosen path is tread-thickened soup –
the mossy velour on my usual pew
is now an orbicular stump-top sponge –
my meditative place is soaked right through

The dripping leaves of the common hawthorn
are plated to silver and bent in prayer
by the salty weight of God’s squeezed tears –
here funnelled from him by the doctrinaire

Where my path rises with logs as steps
the deluge descends in no need of grip –
making me turn to take another route
to the higher ground where your boat should sit

In your clearing – of the sawn and fallen –
you list in pairs and shout deaf-ear orders
finding many gone – or now missing –
‘I have to postpone my plans for The Flood’

Your holy fable finds a level in puddles
where water pools in the lowest place –
and in the clearing there is no Ark –
Others will say when the seas are raised

Stephen Fry on Entering Heaven

“How dare you create a world
in which there is such misery..”

Fry cast out the kids’ cancer gifts –
sent forth by the tri-ghost ministry:

“Why should I respect a capricious,
mean-minded.. god?”

Thus he spake on R.T.E.,
tipping an Overman nod.

“The god who created this universe..
is.. clearly a maniac..”

No Stephen Fry tweet,
but a character attack.

“We have to spend our lives
on our knees thanking him.”

And the Gardai burnt time
on Stephen Fry’s meme.

[Original story here ]

Witnesses

I look to them, graveyard-aligned
in our sped view, forever left and right,
on the journey back from Otsuni;

anchored in the red earth, those groves,
set free from the interrupt of stones
by the cast of the rotivator’s throw.

I count, without enough numbers,
the great twisted variations of
olea europaea
, those fixed olive trees:

Once shadows over Christ’s agony,
witnesses to his betrayal in three,
there as the shade in Gethsemane,

that which the Dutch artist sought
in his own lunatic star-field view,
in the daub and press of other oils.

I am told that the drupes are cultivated
between their green and purple state,
added to, altered, to make them black.

I know the shape well – bulbous
beads, like the sweated blood,
(Luke), from the pores of Christ.

We arrived at the house, set in a grove,
the venerable trees continue their telling,
blown by the wind, of that old song of God.