Monday, 18 July 2022

Paramontage showing No. 6 - 'The church - III' (a type-2)

On 28 May 2019 during a Middle East trip with a friend I visited Ayasofya. The paramontage you’re looking at forms a pair with the one about a building in Jerusalem described last time. 

The last one is titled ‘The church – II’ and this one is ‘The church – III’. Ayasofya is also called Hagia Sofia; your choice of name will depend on your ideas and education, on where you were born and where your allegiances lie. It’s a relative term. The building itself doesn’t care much what you call it, I guess, it’s always happy to receive guests. The poem, which was written on four days (20 October and 12 and 24 November, 2020, and 15 September the following year), goes like this.

I am sure that nowhere else can you see
interiors of such magnificence
where anyone meets ageless majesty
of defunct cousinage honour resents – 

who clasped their lovers tightly to their breasts,
regretted their part in an injustice,
mentioned a desire to commit to fasts,
or hurried to do some urgent business.

We carry our phones since the view is grand,
our bags because we’ll be busy all day,
our sensibilities are close at hand
as are our wallets since always we pay.

The writing on the walls as sharp as suns,
the men at the doors carry machineguns.

‘The church – III’ forms a companion piece to ‘The church – I’, which was also written on four days (20 and 21 October, and 9 December, 2020, and 15 September 2021), and goes like this:

Once more, it’s been converted to a mosque
and secular powers’ chauvinist decree
sees the sphinx rip off lazily its mask
while granite and marble and porphyry – 

each class of rock a notch in the compass –
make an accompaniment for the Word,
as the reds and whites the greens embarrass.
From circa 540, to humour God – 

so the general might be the victor –
this stone harlequin ideally suited
application of universal law
so all could enjoy the peace it mooted

but who in the world today could applaud
vivifying an unregretted lord?

15 September 2021 was nine months after I moved into the new house. All of the poems are part of ‘The Words to Say’, a sequence I started to put together in the middle of October 2020 at a time when I was between domiciles having sold my apartment in Pyrmont. 

No comments: