Clare Hornsby

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In the church on Passion Sunday

Heavy dark cloths cover the Lady statues:
Do they become mute now?
As caged songbirds do
On Venetian balconies when night falls?

The twelve apostles whisper to each other in Latin
Across the hollow nave
Their cool breaths not stirring the purple shrouds.
Their bold gestures blunted and incomprehensible
Their eyes bound.
No fierce-shot glance of martyr’s zeal
Or tender gaze upon the heavy stone books they hold.

How can they cry to heaven for me, covered up like that?
Disguised, like the mistakes I made.

The talk is of Passion, The Passion,
And I hear ‘passionate’ -
‘I love you with all my heart’
Spoken close to my face, in a dream.

The aching response has torn the fabric
Of my heavy satin dress
Sewn not of the purple of passion
But of the black of death.

Thin shreds of which will soon flutter and part
To reveal pure space
And the surge of joy to come.