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(An old one from Mother’s Day, 1993- a performance in a church in

Meanwood, Leeds.)

 

STABAT MATER

This masonry should cry aloud to hear

the validation of the Virgin’s pain;

the distillation of a single tear

incorporated in the sad refrain:

O quam tristis et afflicta…

 

Theorbo and bass viol underpin

the strings’ and singers’ interplay,

as Pergolesi paints for us the price of sin

and strips the intervening years away.

Crucifixi fige plagas…

 

I look around to where a favoured few

unite to share the Mother’s anguished strain;

participate in passion from the pew,

reflecting that her loss became our gain.

Fac me vere tecum flere.

 

Yet those outside are steeped in disregard:

the congregation numbers twenty two.

The movements scent the church as spikenard-

an alabaster jar shattered anew.

Cruce hac inebriari.

 

Writhing in time with the continuo’s pace,

a household fly performs its deathly dance.

Oblivion meets its fate and yet I face

a fact imbued with strange significance.

Quando corpus morietur fac ut animae donetur…

 

We leave the haven of this ark,

to find no armistice has been declared

and slip into the graveyard’s cloying dark,

as prey in evil’s web, we seem ensnared.

Fac me cruce custodiri morte Christe premuniri- confoveri gratia.

 

The music of the spheres has set that fly;

in memory’s amber it will resonate.

Transfiguration gild us as we die;

such harmony our end alleviate.

Amen.