Saturday, December 26, 2015


Who is that man with greying hair, who enters alone, appendix to the flock finds a pew unoccupied in the South Aisle, restricted of view, does not kneel or seem to know the patterns of worship, says "no" to collection by simpering and showing an empty hand, appears baffled when the faithful are invited to extend peace, and then keeps staring throughout the final hymn, surprised, pensive, at the back of the head of the woman who turned around to shake his hand?

I am that man.

Yearly, the squire calls at my house, exhorts continued fealty

By renewing my subscription to the parish magazine.
Dearly dunned, and by no compulsion other than my frailty,
I have come to this service at midnight, grateful for the screen

Of ramified arches. I nearly stayed at home.