colours of sunday

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Impressions of Sunday morning;

for Valerie, Vince, and John

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valerie and I

call the slice of chapel light

hockney and lemon

sunshine on silver

tails of little wriggling fish

feeding the thousands

vince by the fountain

twinkling as he talks about

beetroot and the times

gold on the mustard

seeds that grow in gospel leaves

scattered on the ground

black belt lay preacher

hurling holy water on

the red fires of hell

the peace, fingers crossed

wishing my heart was as white

as the altar cloth

shades of pigeon grey

orange plastic shopping bags

taking sunday home

*

© Gail Foster 30th July 2017

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The Sacred Presence

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For Felicity Walker

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This morning, at the altar rail, I kneel

Beside a woman called Felicity

As delicate as china roses, frail

Much closer to the mystic veil than me

And as the priest approaches with the host

A ray of sun comes sudden from the east

Lord, let it shine on her, who needs it most

And waste it not on me, who needs it least

And so it comes, in blazing gold and white

Infusing her with glory as she prays

Behold, she is an angel full of light

Enfolded in the wonder of his ways

There at the altar with Felicity

I feel the sacred presence next to me

*

© Gail Foster 14th May 2017

The Curious Offering of the Sacristan

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The curious offerings of sacristans

Are given in obscure humility

The symbol of the cupping of the hands

Enshrines the essence of this mystery

The dawn unlocked; the turning of a key

The mystic world behind the little door

The mourning weepers, watching, silently

The quiet foot upon uneven floor

The layered shadowed centuries; the pass

Of long dead worshippers before the throne

Slow shifts of coloured pools of stains of glass

Soft drift of latticed light on pillar stone

The empty candle, thirsting for new oil

Unscrewed and filled, screwed up again and lit

The hidden corners, carved by masons’ toil

In which a wary flickered flame may flit

The covering, uncovering; each fold

Of linen and of altar cloth an art

Within the starch of white, on marble cold

The space to hold His living, beating heart

Here, understated wafers wait in line

For blessing, as an unblessed congregation

Here silver, water, light, and red wine shine

Anticipating sacred consecration

Here eye, and hand, and mind, seek symmetry

In objects placed, in psychic ebbs and flows

Seek that perfection only God can see

In right angle and scented mystic rose

When all are done and gone, her hands will shake

The fragments of His flesh on holy ground

Shed drops upon the earth its thirst to slake

Pour water through the light without a sound

When all are gone, all blessed with wine and bread

There, in the East, where better men have trod

She kneels and presses to the step her head

And, lost in awe, she speaks these words to God

I am that ancient soul you always knew

A part of you, from when time first began

The I am that I am, the that in you

That serves thee, as I will, while still I can

I come to you as Christian, Muslim, Jew

Agnostic, Gnostic, Druid, Angel, Man

The cupping of my hands I give to you

The curious offering of a sacristan

© Gail Foster 2016

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This poem has been chosen as Poem of the Month at Sherborne Abbey

I’m thrilled

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midnight Mass; St. John’s

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Church on Christmas Eve

Experience of spirit

Secular delight

Candles flickering

Stirred by one communal breath

Casting bright shadows

The choir whispering

Mournful cadenced melodies

That bless the silence

Drunken folk giggling

Respectfully hiccupping

Noisy chundering

Strange and precious faith

The uninitiated

Wary, questioning

Through agnostic eyes

Such peculiar mystery

Custom, novelty

The truth hides in love

Ancient priests and children know

Its simplicity

The door is opened

Out in to the night The Word

Flies on sacred wings

Midnight Mass; the light

In darkness comprehending

Emptiness with joy

*

by Gail

Her Voice; for Alex Lascelles

Alex Lascelles had a twinkle in her eye and one of the most powerful reading voices I have ever heard; her funeral is being held this Friday, at the church of St. John the Baptist in Devizes, at 2.45pm.  Rest in peace, lady.

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When Alex Lascelles

Did the readings at church

Her deep ancient voice

Like a dignified drum

Sounded like God

*

by Gail