Argyle at Loop Head
Argyle kept to the outposts and edges,
cliff rocks, coastal roads, estuary banks;
sheltering in dry ditches, thick hedges,
forts and cabin ruins, beside stone ranks;
much scorned by men; much put-upon by weather.
The weeping of keeners brought him hither;
fresh grief, fresh graves, lights in dark localities—
such signs and wonders of mortality
drew him toward the living and the dead
to foment pardon in a bowl of beer
or leaven remission out of common bread,
then, finished with his feed, to disappear.
The bodies of the dead he dined over
never troubled Argyle but still
their souls went with him into exile
and, reincarnate as gulls and plovers,
dove from high headlands over the ocean
in fits of hopeful flight, much as heaven
was said to require a leap of faith
into the fathomless and unbeknownst.
Sometimes the urge to follow them was so
near overwhelming he could almost taste
the loss of gravity in brackish air,
his leap, the sea's embrace, his savior.
Upright over corpses it occurred to him—
the body outstretched on a pair of planks,
the measly loaf and stingy goblet,
the gobsmacked locals, their begrudging thanks,
the kinswomen rummaging for coppers—
it came into his brain like candlelight:
his lot in life like priesthood after all.
Such consolations as the kind he proffered,
by sup and gulp consuming mortals' sins,
quenching hellfire, dousing purgatory,
transforming requiems to baptismals;
but for holy orders and a church,
bells and vestments and lectionary,
a bishop, benefice or sinecure,
the miracles were more or less the same:
a transubstantiation, sleight and feint,
a reconfiguration of accounts
whereby he took unto himself the woe
that ought betide the rotting decadent.
Perdition due the recent decedent
thus averted by Argyle's hunger,
the unencumbered soul makes safe to God,
the decomposing dead get buried under
earth and stone. The sin-eater belches, wipes his gob.
Biyernes, Oktubre 17, 2008
Posted by yellOw-PhOenix at 5:39 AM