by Peter Boyle.
Saint Germain des près, St Martins in the Fields —
what are so many churches doing in the meadows?
Why are they floating past gazing at
the industrious fieldmice? All those golden doorways
and stained glass angels spinning slowly
over green ponds where frogs fall asleep.
And the angelus bells sail ahead of
the invisible celebrants while a lone harpist
takes up her position in the abandoned
bell tower. As these empty church frames
tack and veer in the long aisles of fields
only the music remains to speak
of divinity. And suddenly we’re aware
that these are not fields any more
but criss-crossing trenches of wire,
of explosives. And the churches
look more like tall white warehouses
for the dead. But the rain
taps out its own endlessly varying
symphony. It knows how to outlive. While far off
in the tundra they’re building transmission towers
for whatever messages still come in
from the spaces between stars.