O house of Israel, cannot I do an even more wonderful work with you?
November and blazing beeches burnish
Budburrow Hill. My birthday was this month
and it was on the twentieth we wed.
I did not mind Signor was sixty nine.
He was wary of making the mistake
of marrying a much younger girl-
though I was no virgin Ellen Terry,
but a determined lassie from Loch Ness,
who’d taught clay modelling to tough shoeblacks.
I told him : giving ourselves is the one
necessary gift. So, he acquiesced.
We came to Limnersleave and there he said,
We must build something…I rose with the sun
on the day of consecration and
picked a bunch of white poppies; stood inside.
He puffed up the path, past the Irish yews
into our thoughts, embodied in this form,
through the oak and chestnut door created
by Compton joiners, with Tau cross hinges:
Passover symbols forged by local smiths.
He marvelled at the moulded angel faces
manufactured by the village children.
The bell in the campanile struck a C:
Be my voice neither feared nor forgotten
was its inscription. Walls’ surface shadows
pointed the sorrows and dark side of life.
Perhaps I foreknew that the lachrymals
would contain the oil of joy for mourning
when I placed his ashes in my casket,
here, before the arcuated frontal,
lit by my terracotta candlesticks:
the intimate alongside the sublime.
My glorious prismatic tapestries,
golden corbels and feathered seraphim
revealed all creation as God’s garment.
Butterflies emerge from their chrysalis
and a phoenix rises from its embers.
The circle of life is intersected
by the cross of redeeming love. A vine
coils everywhere and we are its branches.
I tried to capture Growth/ Decay; Flow/ Ebb,
to leave a memorial to all those
who perished in The Great War.
Those peacocks did not stand for earthly pride,
But for the hope of Immortality.
And now, three hundred yards from the A3,
the tabernacle of the Lord stands firm:
His treasure was in an earthen vessel.
He was the Potter and I was the clay.
See what came from the fiery furnace.