Posts Tagged ‘Exeter’


I do not know exactly when I took these photographs, certainly a few years ago now. It is not so easy to capture low light distant images without a tripod. Many were so underexposed so as to be completely black. Quite an interesting process to reveal the hidden images, grainy and so resembling the garish contrast of night-vision goggles. The revealing of distant mysteries. Creatures of the Abyss. Phosphorescent trails. The cave, plant sight lit. Eyes open or shut?



First Commandments.

The first descent
From Sinai
Tutmoses made,
(said these tongues of stone,
Buried in the vaults of space,
Uprised, upraised, given voice
By faith and silent yearning),
He turned Lord Asar, Green Osiris,
Bursting green fire, plant enthused,
Vegetal, spilt his seed,
Red pomegranate lips,
Entwined his heart and loins
With lust of God,
Forgot himself,
Became unmanageable –
Lightning and cloud –
Unintelligible, a roaring message
No one dared listen to,
So they laughed and kept dancing,
Keeping warm by firesides,
The complaints of camels
And obedient women.


pomegranate carving2

green man2

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west window

ARCHED (Exeter Cathedral)

I was drifting through, sifting through, drowning in, the looking for some particular misplaced images and came across some photographs of Exeter Cathedral from a few years back. As our local town, we are familiar with the studied, silent bulk of the building and can, easily enough forget the utter splendour of the architecture and the dedication and effort that went into its creation. Exeter is not the biggest, but it is a very pleasing interior. It has an impressive West Front even though many of the carvings are replacements for those damaged by bombings in the Blitz. Over the last twenty or so years the interior carvings have been repainted to show their original gilding and bright colours. The roof bosses in Exeter are amongst the best and most varied in England, with a startling creative effusion of the Green Man image.

It squats
Muted, beached.
A honeycombed carapace,
Scoured crab
On drift shoreline.
A cry of gulls,
At evensong.

cathedral front

There is a steadying presence in these old buildings, like ancient trees they set roots and hold time steady, somewhere between then and soon. Continuity. Continuance. A maintenance of faith. A measurement in bells and lessons. An axis, both long and tall. An anchor, a haven.

A weight of years,
Halted, encapsulated.
The green lawns
Where tourists flop
And locals watch
Or lie back.
Below that green turf
Roil and scrape the
White, white bones,
Skull and lolly jaw,
Thigh and hip
pressing upwards.
Like worms by rain
The dead are raised up.
The warm flesh weight
Subtly pushing down upon them,
Disturbed, alerted by the murmur of the living,
The chatter of the breathing,
The careless touch, the laughter.
They turn and stretch and unbend
The need to leave the holy must,
The flow of air, the scurry of gulls,
The shadows coming and going,
Hiding and revealing
The saints’ patient faces
Always looking west.

cathedral yard

Always a little ironic to see the living lying on those careful, green cut lawns. The Cathedral Green quiet, serene, sedate, overlooked by tearooms, by tweed-draped windows. Hardly an inch below the surface, the centuries of the fortunate wealthy piled up closer to God, buried in the wake of His rock ship, harboured in the long hours, waiting resurrection, to join the sunny picnickers, the gossiping long-legged girls, the running children, who all unthinking, brush and pick at the grassblades, the stubble of the dead…..

North Tower1

I will be posting more from this treasure-trove soon. Grainy, dark, inexpert pictures emerging from the shadows. a writhe of words and stone. my tongue is dust and forests frozen, illuminated, transfigured, made mythic…..

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