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Brassica heaved a sigh of relief and eased herself into a chair

outside Costamuchamoulah must-seen cafe.

An Indian summer.  Marvellous.  It’s been so pleasant since

the kids went back to school.  It’s been so relaxing.  What did you

get up to over the summer, Candia?  We haven’t had much time to

catch up.

Oh, this and that.  The Husband and I did take a trip to Christchurch

Priory last week.  I’ve been before.  I remembered the Shelley

monument, but I hadn’t been aware of The Miraculous Beam.

What on earth is that?  Brassie enquired.

She put her cup down as I rustled in my handbag.

Oh, no!  Another poem coming, dare I guess?!

I handed it to her across the table.

 

THE MIRACULOUS BEAM

I

Someone was trying to tell us something,

the project manager, Flambard, declared.

When we attempted to lay foundations

at St Catherine’s Hill, the materials

went missing; re-appeared two miles away.

So, we returned to the old Saxon site.

Still the stuff disappeared into thin air.

 

II

Aye, sighed The Master Quarryman, you’ll find

there’s always someone cutting corners;

taking home off-cuts to please his missus,

who wants some extra shelves above her fire;

a new table; rockers for a cradle.

And now the gaffer is going to find out

because the board-hewer claims that the joist

is shorter than it was the night before.

And when we tried to hoist it into place

it didn’t fit the specification.

John Everett Millais - Christ in the House of His Parents (`The Carpenter's Shop') - Google Art Project.jpg

 

III

The chippie with the enigmatic smile-

always the last to knock off on Fridays,

had worked through his lunch-breaks and took no pay.

When brawls broke out with the apprentices,

he’d mutter something about motes and beams,

continuing to plane with his scarred hands:

a halo of sawdust gilding his head.

He said he’d get his father to help out,

as if something which fell short could be fixed.

 

IV

He set The Seven Stars, he re-joindered.

Pub refurbs are not the same thing, they quipped.

The night is coming when no man can work,

So, talking of pubs, we’re heading there now.

No man builds without calculation.

We’ve heard that one before, the masons laughed.

He drew a circle on the tracing floor.

Who does he think he is? They quaffed their ale.

Perhaps Architect of the Universe?!

Flambard’s coming round tomorrow first thing.

A happy bunny he’s not going to be.

The whole roof could cave in at any time.

Frankly, we could do with a miracle.

V

Flambard’- you can guess what was his nickname-

gazes up from the ambulatory.

The beam that the builders had rejected

was now integral to the whole building.

We’ve heard of the budding of Aaron’s staff,

but this is something else, the guildsmen laughed.

VI

But the carpenter had made himself scarce

and there was no trace of him to be found,

save for the load-bearing tree in its place

and the print of his sandal on the ground.