Palimpsest

In the church porch

By David McCormack, 2007

The crude face, a piece of 'folk art' carved in the stones on the inside of the church porch at St Mary's. | Neil Fortey, 21/4/2014
The crude face, a piece of 'folk art' carved in the stones on the inside of the church porch at St Mary's.
Neil Fortey, 21/4/2014

In the church porch, beneath the collapsed
Floor of the parvaise, a face can be seen
Emerging from stone, trying to rest itself,
And its presumed body, free from an inhuman Medium.
Perhaps it is an incarceration of a
Malevolent devil who pulled the ceiling down?

Examining this face I am compelled to ask,
Does this it belong to a nascent familiar
Coming free from the molecular substructure
To batten itself onto the third nipple of a Bottesford witch, or merely a soul
Escaping the redundancy of Purgatory?

At this moment I wish to be a Prospero,
To free this tricksy spirit from
Knotty atomic entrails of a cosmic tree,
A reborn Michelangelo, who through
Brevity of life, left many creations
Trapped in the lithic amber of Italian
Marble, is allowed manumission
To finish this head, or a Carole Reed
Freeing Harry Lime, face popping, brazen,
A devil and a cherub smiling as one
Delighting in the enormity of its crime,
Adulterating precious penicillin,
In the light, from a film noir doorway,
In post war Vienna.

I’m reminded of the phases of Brando’s
Face, in his Cambodian heart of darkness,
Before his assassination, moving, tidal spent,
In ennui, a man resigned to death desperate for
Release from horrors he’d perpetrated
And those experienced in the “line of duty”.

May be our face, skull-like in chop-less
Grin, is a soul bound in torment
Until Judgement day?
Or is it a joke that was in the mediaeval stonemason’s imagination amusing them
And confounding us in speculation?

This page was added on 19/09/2007.

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