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It is shrine-dark
Above tallow sticks
Bidden night sins
Bend the rood screen

Silence percolates
Time into its shell
And is broken
Sudden as a miracle

And flutters meekly
Through the rose
Petals smoking
The teeth of angels

What magic or demon
Do these hands pressed
Hard as kernels
Taste upon white hairs?

Perhaps a flute of breath
A tambor of shivers
Shaking upon armour
Or a fanfare of wings

But there is no fissure
In the candle white
And no blood brush
Painting the deed clean

And no cherub balancing
High on the bosses
Misses a foothold
For the tendrils of breath

As a Becket, cassocked, falls
Making a red dais
Of maroon-wet stone
Crumpled in folds of cloth

Whilst weeping footsteps
Creep from the nave
And trace stigmata
Upon the king's white

© David Incoll 2001

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Copyright by David Incoll 2001