Gerard Manley Hopkins at St. Katherine's Chapel, Lydiate
O! Perfect of faith!
Although your chapel stands unroofed
to the grey Lancashire sky,
vast underbelly of God,
it is yeoman-builded, time-proved!
I, the poet-priest, escaped
from the vaporous slums of Liverpool,
sit alone in your house,
once host to Lent lilies, incantations,
companioned by elderflower, field mouse!
Katherine, I see your sainted life shine,
chiselled in the Lydiate reredoes,
I, the convert, know your face
that converted so many,
although dank grass chokes altar-space
--as I know the simple bearded ones
and their hands that thresh,
who drove you to your death,
fire-stump, heart scourging
beheaded end of mortal flesh.
Christopher T. George