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ACTS AND MONUMENTS (poem) - Sarah Howe - United Kingdom/China - Poetry International
 
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Acts and Monuments
. . . as obedient chyldren, that ye geue not youre selues ouer vnto your olde lustes . . .
1 Peter 1:13-16. Overpainted on the whitewashed rood screen of Binham Priory, Norfolk, c.1540-43
Word from Ely:
            the alabaster Virgin’s
bludgeoned head
            feigned miracles
tumbled twenty ells –
            her velveted cheek
moored in an altar’s
            candle-strewn jetsam
was said to drop
            a waxen tear.
 
 
At the priory’s fall
            its people came too late
amidst clamour &
            cries. The glistering Saints
torn from their Sunday
            height – each trindle,
screen, & tabernacle,
            each tilted face  –
quite slubbered over
            – washed with white.  
 
 
As Homily blurred into Homily,
            Binham’s flock
continued to gaze –
            a whole generation
disobedient children
            thumbed at the lime’s
forgetfulness, hoping to coax
            from stubborn chalk
that serpent’s peepholed green,
            a flash of wheatsheaf hair
 
almost as bright as ever it was.