March 2nd, 2009

A Poem To Go With The Pictures

And here's the poem- written a while back- that goes with the pictures in the last post.

                                    ST ELISABETH’‘S



                             The big brick church was built by the boss.


                             He said “dear Mr Waterhouse,

                             Build me a church in the Ruskin taste

                             With patterned courses of coloured brick

                             And some gold mosaic.”


                                                                   And when it was up

                             He called it after his wife’s name saint,

                             Elisabeth- Spelt just like that

                             With an s not a z- as you’d name a boat.

                             He said,“ My dear, do you recollect

                             How the light beat up from the Grand Canal

                             On our honeymoon?”


                                                          And the little devils-

                             Little devils blue, red and green-

                             Cavorted over his patterned floor

                             And whisked their tails and flashed their teeth

                             In pure delight at the pride of the man,

                             At the glory of his astonishing pride.


                             And what did he care?  He was off to Scotland

                             To sit in his castle, or off to London

                             To sit on the government benches there.

                             And his mill-hands coped as best they could

                             With the antics of the little devils-

                             Little devils, blue, red and green-

                             Who danced in front of the chancel screen

                             And pulled rude faces behind the back

                             Of the boss’s clergyman when he preached.

An Elaborate Dance

Around the time I moved to Reddish, Ailz was dating a boy who lived a few blocks away from the church- and taking her driving test in the streets around it. I don't think our residencies overlapped- quite- but- if not- we only avoided bumping into one another by a month or two. 

We  had several such near-misses. She lived in Mossley and I came this close to buying a house there. She moved to Edinburgh after her marriage broke up and- at just that time- I toyed with the idea of moving there too. It's as if we were performing this elaborate dance round one another- but never quite touching.

Finally I put an ad in the Manchester Evening News- and she answered it.