I went to Winchester Cathedral last Sunday and observed the Close beginning its preparations for Christmas. This somewhat detracted from the Keatsian ambience of Autumnal peace. Still, there are many pragmatists who, in a similar manner to Elinor Dashwood’s dismissal of her sister Marianne’s Romantic sensibility regarding Ode to Autumn-type expressions, might utter:
It is not everyone who shares your passion for dead leaves!
Still, there is a sacred spot on Meribel lawn, in front of Pilgrims School, where the sculpture by Barbara Hepworth draws one in to another space. This artwork intrigued me for some time, but then I was affected by its presence and impact and this is what it said to me:
CONSTRUCTION ( CRUCIFIXION ) HOMAGE TO MONDRIAN,1996 BY BARBARA HEPWORTH
All stresses are counterbalanced: cancer,
the carnage of two marriages, cruel death
of her beloved son. Tried in the fire,
forged in the foundry of longsuffering,
three crosses stand against a cedar tree,
which may have sprouted from a mustard seed.
A faceless Christ haloes the deanery.
Meribel Close is stamped with Mondrian’s
grid-like shadows and our chequered lives.
Strong shoulders are the lintel of the Door.
Still people pass by on the other side,
embarrassed by their incomprehension,
smelted at the thought of a direct look.
Some gaze at alchemy’s transmutation.
The corm of caritas takes root in them.