“There’s a club, if you’d like to go…”

The dour bishop on the south nave of the National Cathedral needs to spend less time judging tourists and more time reading the Cura Pastoralis. Does anyone understand what he’s yammering about? I don’t.


When January thaws, and spirits fall
Like late December sleet that spattered all
These roots and stumps, you stumble, overwrought,
The virtue in your veins engendering nought
But wheezing as you clamber to repeat
This uninspired ritual: to greet
Another crop of claimants at the source,
In chapels where this custom runs its course
And small fools hum a hymn for Heaven’s sake
(Which only keeps the bigger fools awake),
Then something pricks your wan and warbling heart;
To compensate, you contemplate the art
Of forming crooked cloisters with your hands;
Below, the palmers sneak from sundry lands
And cross the lines of tales that didn’t end.
Along the leaves of centuries, they wend
To seek a saint. His holy, blissful trick?
He once helped others when that they were sick.
And here your daydream fails. In disarray,
You pace the nave alone. You sulk away.
You haunt the darkened pub, and down a beer,
And swish the foamy dregs, another year.
Vocations call for patience, this you know;
Devout or not, your pilgrims never show.

(For all the entries in this series, hit the “looking up” tag.)

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