Arundells, Bruckner, Chapter House, Constable, Creme egg, Dom Perignon, Holy week, Julian of Norwich, Mocha, Old Sarum, Palm Sunday, Pontius Pilate, Salisbury, Simnel cake, Ted Heath, Tower of Babel, University Challenge
I can’t believe that it’s nearly Easter, shivered Carrie.
Quick! let’s go in and bag a table, I said.
Costamuchamoulah cafe was still doing a brisk trade, even on this
grey day. Amazingly, the smokers were still prepared to sit outside.
We have the routine down to a fine art now: one gets into the queue while
the other nabs a table, much as the disciples snatched a colt.
Yes, Easter’s early this year, I commented, watching a child stuff its face with
a Creme Egg in advance of the Christian calendar. It’s amazing how such
diminutive creatures can incorporate a whole orb of sickly chocolate fondant
into such a tiny aperture.
I bet they don’t know what Simnel cakes represent, I mused aloud.
What do they stand for? queried Carrie. Then, seeing my expression, she
added, I’m sure I once knew.
That’s what I say during University Challenge, I replied.
Then I sipped my Mocha, getting a chocolate powder moustache. You know,
it’s Palm Sunday tomorrow. Are you going to go to a service?
Try persuading that lot to get out of bed, she sighed. They used to like to see
the donkey coming into the church, though. Sometimes they were convinced
that The Dean, giving his dramatised reading, was Pontius Pilate and it scared
Yes, we used to go to Salisbury for the service. That was when Ted Heath
lived in The Close. In fact..
..you have a poem about it, she smiled.
How did you know?
PALM SUNDAY IN SALISBURY
Polythene wraps New Sarum like an egg.
The sky above The Close is Constable’s.
Cream-robed clergy congregate in cloisters,
bespectacled, brandishing dried gray palms,
under a spire as tall as Babel’s own,
while new choristers mouth All glory, laud
and honour.. without comprehending laud.
The tallest lad hopes that his voice won’t crack.
Girl choristers have not been asked to sing today.
Some miniature Yasser Arafats
in tea-towels and trainers coax an ass
from a spreading cedar into the nave,
where all present pray for its continence.
True blue glass provides a continuo.
Ted Heath’s Jaguar, also blue, is parked
on a reserved space outside Arundells.
What if one should loose its handbrake
and say, The Lord has need of thee this day?
Meanwhile we make intercession for all
unemployed, under and over-employed,
while carefully noting the advertised
champagne breakfast on our service schedule.
Dom Perignon: a foretaste of glory.
The Jobseekers can sip Living Water.
Coffee will be served in the Chapter House
among the exhumed coffin chalices,
patens. The bookshop is doing business
in postcards of Julian of Norwich:
All manner of thing shall be well. Mammon
hasn’t felt stings from His whip of cords-yet.
The head which indicates the Bishop’s stall
has a triple face of circumspection.
The Dean and his ordained wife wear the same
as they stand on repro medieval tiles,
trying not to worry about their lunch.
In the cloisters a chill wind chafes faces.
A chair is overturned, but no tables.
Although we have received the sign of peace,
our palm crosses seem ineffectual.
We stick one on Ted’s windscreen, just in case
his residential permit cuts no ice
with the flaming Being at the Close gate,
who curiously doesn’t wear a badge,
but bears authority from Old Sarum.
He tends to let the backpackers pass through,
like Christians, still bearing their large burdens,
or as camels accessing a needle.
But Tory Faithful have to wait in queues,
backs turned to the Celestial City,
while Peter checks their National Trust cards
and the very stones cry, Glory! Glory!