Stepping from sunlight into hushed gloom
Here the flickering candles weep tears of flame
Solid pews offer security from the reeling splendour
Of art and beauty,
Jewelled glass, glittering gold, pallid marble, the gleam of lilies
Smooth white altar cloth, shining cool and untouched
The Madonna stares, eyes hard and cold.
Soft organ wrapping the soul in smooth
Folds of reverence and the choir chant slowly.
A small frail woman kneels with the sign of the Cross and her lips
Move in silent prayer,
Her hands clasped, her wrists bound tightly by twisting rosary beads
The Saints are locked in their cold tombs, forgotten
And the woman does not know their names.
Dizzying heights of the smooth hard dome
Encircling, showing just paint, hiding Heaven.
And the air is thick with incense and martyrdom and conceit
The painted Christ weeps,
His image calls you to join in the festival of vanity
The young man sitting outside in the rain weeps
Calling me, “Madamoiselle, J’ai faim.”
© 1996 Sarah Tait
First Published in Outposts Magazine
Sarah is a poet who currently co-hosts Writers Unleashed, a monthly writer’s open-mic evening in Thanet celebrating local talent.