ark, Blanche Mortimer, dove symbol, Jairus daughter, Much Marcle, Noah, tomb effigy, Tyburn, wood pigeons
Brassica sighed, When will this rain ever stop? I feel like
Noah’s wife, looking out the window of the ark, willing a dove
to return with some symbol of meteorological hope.
You’ll be lucky, I laughed. Doves are an endangered species
now. They’ve been superseded by b*** great wood pigeons.
We were trying to make the best of yet another grey morning.
There was no chance of a walk as the bridleways have been
churned up to quagmire status by numerous bike tyres.
At least it is cosy in the cafe.
Did you read online that the remains of Blanche Mortimer have
miraculously been found in her tomb in Much Marcle, after over
600 years? Brassie ventured, somewhat ironically.
Well, where else would they be?
Oh, apparently remains were often buried in the ground
underneath these tombs, rather than actually IN them, she
I remember going there last year, to see the famous beautiful
tomb effigy, I remarked, but when we got there, the cupboard was
What do you mean?
They’d taken the tomb away for restoration.
That must have been a disappointment.
I hate it when Brassie practises her counselling reflecting speak
on me. You know, like interviewers saying: So, how did it make you
feel? when it is patently obvious. Still, it is supposedly a conversational
indication that someone is actually listening to you, so I let it pass.
It was like the disciples going to the tomb and finding that the body
wasn’t there. All the more ironic as we visited at Easter! I replied.
So was your husband annoyed that you’d driven all that way for
There she goes again!
Probably. I didn’t ask him. Anyway, I wrote a poem about it.
We haven’t had one of those for a while, Candia.
I’ll e-mail it to you as an attachment.
Gosh! Can you do that? I have to ask Cosmo to do all that computer
stuff. Of course, the twins are whizzes at IT.
Don’t worry your pretty little head! I smiled. He can open it for
you later tonight.
Miracle in Much Marcle
It’s Good Friday: we are driving eastwards
through drifted fields, where ewes have lost their lambs.
Arriving early at the church, its latch
gives mercifully and so we enter,
stumbling into a chancel of pure light.
Attention is diverted to others
who lie in a petrified majesty:
a metaphysical conceit in stone.
Where is the wimpled beauty, tight-buttoned
sleeve? We want to gaze on serene eyelids.
We’d like to witness Jairus’ daughter
miraculously wake before the end
of Time. This childless spouse, unknown daughter,
took to sleep, shutting out her father’s death
at Tyburn; his treachery with a queen;
his complicity in vile regicide.
Unprepared for absence’s disclosure,
we’re disappointed- not as disciples
who found a luminescent gardener.
There’s no grave mole-catcher to interview.
She has risen; there has been a Rapture.
We see that her heraldic tomb has gone
in the twinkling of an eye and no cloth,
no folded linen’s there- just vacancy,
where Blanche, her sins as white as snowy wool,
blank as a virgin, slept in innocence.
We read she has gone for restoration;
but surmise transfiguration took place
almost a millennium ago.
Centuries have tolled through her long fingers,
each bead once a prayer for deliverance:
for ours; not hers, that having been achieved.