Poetry

Simon de Montacute, Bishop of Ely, Consults his Psalter

 

initium

To know the ways of God with man
He enters the inner room of the initial.
The crypt, the sacristy, the confessional or the close stool –
To find his worth, to see if he is known.

David has made his home there.
Complaining of his lips, his eye
Or simply sitting in a bath, he tries
Persuading the Lord into his low-
Vaulted, low-lit, hide-out shot gold.
Until God is forced to show his face
Harried, tense, inconvenienced
by the apsidal intimacy. He’s disembodied.
Meanwhile, beyond the script
Monkey-faced, angel-winged grotesques
Flex their beautiful foxglove sprouting tails
Incline their elegant serpentine heads
And contort in boredom.