CHRISTCHURCH CATHEDRAL ATTACKED BY DEMONS


(after the painting by Philip Clairmont)

1.
The spire twists like a pale flame
like the feet of Christ in Isenheim
tapering like a prayer to the angel
Like an earthquake, the earthquake
but this is merely acid
Christchurch in its attempt to hide from god
has shattered into neat Feininger shards
stained glass
pinned out dissection on the plains
beneath an equally flat sky
It is Easter 1972
Babel dancing a tarantella possessed
a leering grin consumes the portico
the kinaesthetic betrayal
of the signum crucis
2011 and pocket apocalypse
Somewhere a piece of metal
the weight of a crowbar
falls on concrete
ringing like a bell

2.
And one time you’d rush upon me, darkly roaring, like a great black
shadow with a sheeny stare to perce me rawly.
 - James Joyce, Ulysses

The Jezebel world made eyes at the artist
and in a terrifying prismatic blaze
pressed genius on him in a kiss
Drunk on the madness and oblivious
to his dissolution he piled
facet on facet and volume on volume
Light runs with tears of joy and rage
the falling stones leer treacherously
feign screaming demise
and spire leaps up startled a needle
I weep for the dead grey thing
glass bead clings to eyelash
in a moment of terrible rapture
The raddled body of Christ
in second deposition
Christ as artist
artist as Christ
artist as church
Building made of scars
wound become stone
and prone dead reveals each ashlar and slate
turning it before the eye
Vision pours from the artist’s
hands like a saint’s blood
In its plainness the ruin
becomes archetype
The air full of eyes
crawls across the canvas

3.

Cross pokes out through the oculus of the welkin dome

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