|An Hour in
What are we to believe? That Christ
welcomed the thorns, Sebastian the arrows,
Catherine the wheel? Yes, they tell us.
Only when the body’s shriven, mortified,
made carcass and dispatched
can the soul emerge immaculate
and rise like gas, invisible yet palpable.
Pain is the passport to Jerusalem.
Christ hangs on above my head, his face
cast down, his arms stripped wings
spread wide, his ankles crossed. This
is more dance than agony, a frozen
entrechat – Christ terpsichore, reeling
down the ages to a timeless tune,
treading out the double loop, the bee’s
infinity, until the measure’s known by all.
And what’s a dance? A means by which
we occupy the air, divert, persuade,
seduce. Passionate engagement, yet
powerless to lift the curse of Sisyphus,
or block the juggernaut, or move the stone.
This God omnipotent, who claims our praise
and swallows our prayers like a hungry bird,
is from dreamtime. He draws on the oxygen
of our need. We might well worship
water falling, metamorphic clouds,
the janus faces watching from the cliffs
that tell us what we want to know.
If you have any comments on this poem, Dick Jones would be
pleased to hear them.