cropped-antarctic

POEM – LOW VAULTED CEILINGS (BY STRIDER MARCUS JONES)

poetry_generic

within those man stone walls
promoting their god
bringing us to him
i told the priest-
you tell us to be content
with poverty
while you live in this big house
throwing us scraps
begged from money lenders.
this is not what Jesus
asked his disciples to do.
this is not what he died for.
he said live amongst us
and share what they have.
the priest,
red with rage,
oppressive and oppressed-
pulled my mam aside
made her shrink in his stare
weep in his words
walk me in our sins
from his dark-damp house of angels.
outside
in feral sunshine
i pointed to grinning gargoyles
chasing chastened shadows
back down primitive paths-
to a cellar flat,
bare bulb dangling
prison beam probing
baptised flesh
and mam tipped tears
soaking into straw mattresses
sucking up cold from the flagstone floor
woodworms eating a Van Gogh table
where six mouths sat
sharing stale bread and cold beans
with whiskered skirting board mice.
years later,
i left Dedalus in Dublin
in the pages of a book
to his epiphany
and Jesuit suit of guilt-
while i quenched
my glistening fruit
in street light ladies-
drenched in smokey curling
dancing clouds
and stories from voices
bouncing off low vaulted ceilings
caressing human in darkness.

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