Sheena Blackhall

Gold Star - 4,773 Points (18/8/1947 / Aberdeen)

At King's College Chapel, Cambridge - Poem by Sheena Blackhall

A Negress with a knotted, tasselled scarf,
Power-shouldered jacket, buckskin moccasins
Cromwellian warts on cheek and nose and chin
Fingers the ancient carvings, clucks in awe

A girl with matted hair, grown long and blonde
Like Boudicca with nits, looks nonchalant
Faced with a raging dragon and a hound

A skull-faced skulker wearing a baseball cap
His wrists tattooed with devils and swastikas
Looks dumb-struck at the chapel's soaring roof

In fourteen forty one, the sainted King
Henry the Sixth, laid down the founding stone
Great walls of buff and cream grew up and up
To vaults like fans of Spanish filigree

The dark oak screen with gilded organ pipes
Gifted by Henry eighth and Anne Boleyn
Workmen in overalls chatter on cell phones
Move ladders here and there, tape up seat rows
A girl with thunder-thighs bangs on a pew
Chews gum and sulks beneath a teacher's glower

Rubens' Adoration of the Magi
Becomes the backdropp of the tourist snaps
Rupert Brooke's name, cut into the stone
Reveal he died in war, lost generation

On Easter Sunday, TV cameras rolled
No ladder, workmen, tourist queues in view
Only the candlelight's kind, smudging glow
The mystery of naked flame in darkness
As holy as the voices of small boys
Soaring up from their throats like linnets' prayers


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012



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