The State of the Church
A bird's building I don't know what
On the old over-spill loudspeaker
At the west door with the new wheelchair ramp.
Inside in the left confessional
The parish hygiene committee has stored
The mobile font and a Nilfisk vacuum cleaner.
Pews that were sold will probably surface
In a LGBT pub soon. And those marble
Altar-rails with the trailing stone grapes
Will trellis a heated swimming-pool
Where the kids at the deep-end dive to the green
Tiling to pee, to peer up at legs
In a swaying Sistine Chapel above them.
Already women are out buying Chilean
Wine for the family table; already
Inmates of John of God hospital
Are baking scones for their tranquillised wives
In the Occupational Therapy ovens.
Pray silence so. They will be reading lessons,
Telling stories, giving thanks together,
Sharing food and pouring plonk as if
Jesus the Jew was really present there.
Not one of them's been to mass for ages.
Not one of them has the least idea
What the true church of the state is today.
Look at weddings and funerals, for God's sake:
Sitting down when they should stand up,
Standing up when they should kneel,
As if it were up to the weeks of February
And March to heal the face of the frozen earth.
Poetry Ireland Review Issue 107
Copyright © 2012 by Aidan Mathews
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission