The Iron Railings of a Rood Screen


The heavy bars of the toilet gate were open wide as day;
Existence both of bolt and lock showed perpetual adoration
Was not hereand what burlesque of a vastly higher station?
Beyond these was the chancel of homosexual lasciviousness at bay,
Where men know that they know squarely what it means to pray:
Be my address on morals and Christ, somewhat in transubstantiation,
Yet still mere iron bars to any hanging about in sensuous situation,
And by what shabby, squalid performance I would rather not say.
The grille would be better surmounted by a red dragon's head,
As in the arms above the entrance to Jesus College at Cambridge,
Although the irony would be nil and not enhanced, instead.
No university, observatory, church, library, cathedral or college,
Could satisfy the hunger of an institute that on the world has fed.
I leave you, miscreants: the chaos looms beneath my narrow ledge.