Blanche Parry- Wikipedia image.
Painting possibly by Marcus Gheerearts
I had her from her aunt, The Lady Troy.
She was to prove her weight in gold to me –
not troy weight- I jest- but avoirdupois.
That’s what she had: a certain gravitas,
so that I trusted her with all my jewels.
Whether a rainbow surrounded my throne,
or no, she sacrificed her life to mine,
seeeing in me a pearl of rarest price.
She that rocked my cradle, cradled my throne,
as confidante; mistress of our muskcat.
Two maidens: both preserving the jewels
of our virginity; joking in Welsh
at the frivolity of flatterers.
She deserved better than backwoods Bacton.
She did her bit for them with that Bible.
I’ve seen the funerary monument,
with me decked out as Gloriana and
she twice my stature, kneeling prayerfully.
Well, I paid for her to have Westminster
and sent them one of my cast off dresses.
They’ll make a stunning altarcloth from it.
As the eyes of a handmaiden look to…
She never lost her focus, even once,
unless it was to supplicate St Foy.
There she was, clutching that little salve pot,
looking for an ocular anointing,
so she could detect once more loose settings
and not have to feel under beds and chairs
for a stray gem which rolled from my casket.
I’d found a virtuous woman, whose price
was proverbially above rubies.
Eighty two years: of sound Welsh Marches’ stock…
The Tudors liked to trace their line from such.
You can’t replace staff like her any more.
She was my staff – further, she was my friend
and now that she is gone, who will rock me?
I feel I’ve lost a mother once again.
She’ll be His when He makes up his jewels.
She was the brightest and best in my crown.
( The ‘Abbey’ WyrdLight.com; Antony McCallum, 2007
transferred to Commons from Wikipaedia by Kurpfalzbilder)
At Painshill, absence rather than presence
is tangible. Arnold’s cottage now gone;
no Temple of Bacchus: at least, not yet
(so no iconographical message
from Apollo, Mercury, Venus, Zeus);
the Gothic Tower and Crystal Grotto closed-
the latter seems to have lost its sparkle;
the former lost its marbles long ago.
A middle-aged couple are unable
to have a sly snog behind a pillar,
as I appear on cue with a camera,
desecrating a Romantic landscape;
ready to immortalise an abbey
that never was….
…..I forgot to take note
of one of Europe’s most lofty cedars;
I managed to miss the Gianbologna;
was underwhelmed by the mausoleum’s
empty, uncommemorative niches.
I can’t say that I noticed the cork tree
and walked around a silver, ghost-like Mole,
but saw no gentlemen in silk breeches
pop myopic heads up from mounds of earth.
Even the hermit scarpered to the pub,
with his employer’s seven hundred quid
and Hamilton himself retired to Bath.
Smoke spiralled from branches that left bare stumps;
no doves hovered over The Chinese Bridge;
nomads had vacated the ornate tent
and pushchair-strolling mothers ignored me.
But though there was no fruit left on the vine
and there were no fish on the angler’s line;
the cascade was a desultory drip
and I trod on Canadian Goose shit,
yet the Genius of the Place reached out and
touched my heart with elegant green fingers.
Atonement, Church of the Flagellation, Gethsemane, John Paul II, Joseph of Arimathea, Judas betrayal, Last Supper, Lune poetic form, myrrh, Peter Denial, Pilate, Roman Catholic, Simon the Cyrenian, Stations of the Cross, The King of the Jews, Veronica, Via Crucis
(Church of the Flagellation- 20/9/2010;
photo by Berthold Werner)
I have produced my own Stations of the Cross– fourteen in number,
which is traditional. However, I have omitted the three ‘stumblings’
and Veronica. I think I follow recent Roman Catholic editing on
some of this.
The Atonement is my focus and so I have not made the last Station
into a Resurrection. I think that would be more of a Via Lucis.
( I am not a Roman Catholic, so feel that I can be more independent in
my artistic endeavour.) I don’t start with Gethsemane, or The Last
Supper, or Judas’ betrayal, or Peter’s denial. My idea was to concentrate
on 14 episodes in the narrative and I tried to find the quintessence of
the moment by creating 14 lunes, a variation on a poetic form invented
by Robert Kelly, which I have read about. I use 3-5-3 syllables, so my stanzas
are very condensed and intense. ( Kelly uses 5-3-5)
Anyway, see what you think:
to the crowd.
stripped Him; mocked Him with
a thorn crown.
bore His cross.
weep no more.
wine, mingled with myrrh,
‘King of the Jews’
scribes and elders mocked
Him: Come down!
was divided up,
John, take good care of
He then drank
vinegar and gall
from a sponge.
His head bowed;
He gave up the ghost.
(Jesus on the cross, St Raphael’s Cathedral,
Dubuque, Iowa. Feb 2006. Jesster 79- Commons Wiki)
His side, once
speared, issued forth blood
Joseph had Him placed
in his tomb.
(Manneken Pis, 19/6/11- own work: Myrabella. Wikimedia
Commons CC BY- SA 3.0)
Gus was meditative. What was he going to do about the latest
Retirement had been a shock to his system. Living in Virginia’s
house had been a mistake. He was institutionalised. He admitted
it. He liked the company of males and thrived – throve?-in a boarding
Virginia was set in her ways. As former PA to The Headmaster, she had
been used to directing operations. Trying to accommodate both her way
and Snod’s little foibles in one domestic situation was tough. The first
rumble of discontent had been when she had baulked at displaying his
entire Wisden collection in the sitting room. She had suggested storing
his beloved books in the garage.
The house was hers. She had owned it outright since widowhood.
Maybe they should have bought a separate dwelling next door for his
cricket memorabilia collection and his model railway.
But this morning was a step too far.
He had been downstairs in the Little Boys’ Room and lifted the seat.
He felt like the Manneken Pis in sub-zero temperatures. In other words,
From somewhere in the toilet bowl direction he heard Theresa May’s voice.
Or was it Angela Merkel’s?
There was a spooky gizmo attached to the rim and a verboten notice: Halt,
Snod tore the gadget off and attempted to flush it down the loo, but, of
course this was not an effective strategy. He had to hook it out.
What are you doing, love? Virginia’s dulcet tones could be heard
approaching. You’ve been in there for ages. Are you all right?
Yes, dear, he replied through gritted teeth.
But he wasn’t.
If Nigel wants to transition to a sitzpinkler, let him! Snod seethed. I
have always told my pupils to stand up and be men!
And he took the S.P.U.K device and crushed it underfoot. For a
well-read individual such as himself, he wasn’t going to give up
his convictions about Cartesian mind/ body relationships- even if it
threatened other connections. Koestleresque ghosts in the machine
ought not to invade such a monastic cell.
If Virginia thought she could follow him where no other had dared, she
was much mistaken.