Antiphonary

Quotidianly the Church of Failure I entered,
It’s perched on the edge of the Perilous Cliffs;
Overlooking a township where sailors self-centred
Have painted Saint Elmo on leprous skiffs.

The lych-gate’s with knotweed succumbed,
The last wedding here only led to divorce;
The yew-trees colluded and suddenly plummed,
Incited cattle to trample, remorseless and coarse.

Saint Saviour’s statue outside the narthex
Lost both His hands in the penultimate storm;
The gargoyles with moss and lichen are blessed,
The Roaring Forties with tempests transform

The lands where narwhal skeletons rest;
A place of reflection and calm contemplation
With sea-kelp and crab claws dressed,
The trammelling corpses upbraiding salvation;

The empresses here are other crustaceans,
A giant squid’s eyes guard the vestibule;
Defrocking is also laicization,
The vicar defrocked to a village near Goole.

The organist abetting has been suspended,
We sing our cantatas in a capella ways;
The pipes and the pedals we had recently mended
An absconding convict stole, while in prayer we praised.

Some congregational hearts are not really in it,
They thought a Vesper a vehicle needing repair;
They thought that Lauds was the home of cricket;
Sabbas the Sanctified looks on in despair.

Quotidianly a coffin tips over the edge,
Parishioners strive to catch caskets with nets;
Coastal erosion reached bramble and sedge;
That view had survived a thousand regrets.

Those who tampered with truth eat their desserts;
We go home, watch executions from London to Delhi.
We petition each day to make matters worse,
But prayers are not heard from within a whale’s belly.

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