History underfoot and the tremor of the organ playing the notes of ancient songs with voices rising and candles flickering reminding me of heaven – heartbreak’s home.
Surrounded by stone – eyes cast down – prayers rising and falling as the light outside weakens into darkness and so many shadowy figures waiting waiting waiting for a benediction or a sign.
But oh it’s late – inward motion is stilled and who wants to know or remember or examine the failure of love as the incense swirls and swirls round the tomb of a long-dead saint?
Made right? Made light under the glare of the camera – and there was Christ dying within me again, and oh where was I? Under the tombs of the poets – half sane half mad;
And afterwards in the twilight outside calling to the moon for a turning of the tide and a revelation of how deep is the darkness – how high are the walls – how low is the tide – and how love waits waits waits . . .
17 September 2010,Westminster Abbey
This poem was inspired by the below quote, and waiting and waiting for Rowan Williams and the then Pope Benedict do their ecumenical thing one evening ...
"In the age we live in cosmic symbolism has been almost forgotten and submerged under a tidal wave of trademarks, political party buttons, advertising and propaganda slogans and all the rest – is necessarily an age of mass psychosis.A world in which a poet can find practically no material in the common substance of everyday life, and in which he is driven crazy in his search for the vital symbols that have been buried alive under a mountain of cultural garbage, can only end up . . . in self-destruction. And that is why some of the best poets of our time are running wild among the tombs in the moonlit cemeteries of surrealism. Faithful to the instincts of the true poet, they are unable to seek their symbols save in the depths of the spirit where these symbols are found.These depths have become a ruin and a slum. But poetry must, and does, make good use of whatever it finds there: starvation, madness, frustration and death."
Thomas Merton, Bread in the Wilderness