Eucharist, St Pauls: a poem

Sue Hampton (second from left above) wrote this poem shortly after taking part in this action at St Paul’s Cathedral. She was one of 13 people arrested at the Cathedral on Sunday 30th August while demanding that the Church divest £70M from the fossil fuel industry.

Eucharist, St Paul’s

Jewelled to sky
the dome rises on
in painted echoes,
as if to guide beyond trappings to clear blue truth,
its vaunted space
flowered by song
reaching sunward
like jasmine breath,
A choir through fire.
Detecting quickened rhythm in familiar chests
I turn time’s pages
slow and stilled.
We wait.

The wine’s burn lingers
as we break cover,
a thin procession
with banners concertinad from backpacks
around the dais.
Uncovered, the cross
and hourglass bind us together.
From the pulpit
the words we chose
swell and swim
through silence.
Heart full,
absorbing welcome,
I open eyes on applause,
unsuspecting that police
are on their way.

“Hello, Susan, all right?”
Tall in black, the officer’s
in charge,
wants us gone
by Church request.
Though we turn no tables,
no further congregations
will be admitted
while we remain.
Like a flock at gunshot
the gratitude for our
has taken flight.

Billions my head can’t hold
could fund life,
could warm without inferno.
We stay,
letters in the post and
arms linked,
offer the police cordon
Amazing Grace,
words fudged but line held
in quietest soar.
The glue I hid
has sealed
connections now.

Outside they expect a stream
of burdens lifted
in sacrifice
for media lens.
Instead through the Crypt
around clandestine corners
and one by one
we’re secreted away.

In custody
the smiles have roots,
branch free.
I select from Faith and Practice,
read aloud,
fill with kinder light,
sing about standing for love
(even with a broken soul,
even with a heavy heart
I stand for love)
I honour every one
I hold dear
and dare alone, uncluttered
and at peace,
to believe.

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