Summer benediction

Backstory: Stained glass window in St Anne’s (Church of Ireland) Dawson Street where the baptism took place. I ran a religious bookshop (1982 – 1984) in that church, where I met Brigette.


  • After Evensong, above regimental rows
    of empty pews, insistent drum-roll of rain;
    ancient baptismal vows, prayerful prose
    whisper-uttered: you hoped to clothe your pain.

    What secret needed Christ’s redeeming?
    Did mystical washing give you song?
    Did benediction bless, sun streaming
    through stained glass make anchor strong?


    Two strangers, we met under church porch,
    shower shelter shared, shyly we introduced
    ourselves to each other, a tenuous torch
    lit our faces: summer romance let loose.

    Under high-arched, baroque cathedral roof
    choir-sung oratorio echoed, pathos pervaded;
    our eyes articulately spoke emotional proof,
    under regimental flags no longer paraded.

    Later kissed proffered lips, moonlight reflected
    college courtyards, I cupped your freckled face;
    such bright-eyed eagerness, quite unexpected,
    dumbfounded by such feminine-firm embrace.

    Nervous, amateurish, out-of-practice palms
    pulled you close, I embraced like true believer;
    such love was not to last, my faith held qualms,
    scripture separated – who pulled guillotine lever?


    Originally composed 1982 – current rendering, November 7th 2015



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