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Photo by Flo Meixner on Unsplash

“Comforter, where, where is your comforting?
Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?
” GM Hopkins, ‘Terrible sonnets’ 

On this flaming day in June, such beautiful pagan mountains surround
Your uncertain presence in this bastion of the Jesuits.
I overheard disquisitions concerning the nuts and bolts of poetry
Whilst your real presence crept into my heart. 
Your journey of renunciation washed you up on many rocky promontories:
Where love was spoken of, but never felt. No Greek love, mere austerity.
Who were the erastes** or the eromenos**of your dreams?
Did you visit the kybeia***? Travel languidly from the port of Piraeus to Crete? 
Watch Sappho cavorting on the beach? Wonder how your self-denying ordnance could please the risen Christ?
Did you see yourself as his long-lost sheep who must repent, repent?
Was it for this lifetime of barely acknowledged misery that your saviour was created or sent? To cancel Dolben’s drowning, maybe?
A weary pantheism sustained your passing epiphanies, cancelled your melancholic, empty inscape,
showed you the truth in the passing beauties of Et in Arcadia ego****; where the low door
in the old wall would lead you into an enchanted garden: not overlooked by guilt or loss or God.


Et in Arcadia Ego — Nicholas Poussin …



* bend and give way under a weight or force.

** Pederasty in ancient Greece was a socially acknowledged romantic relationship between an adult male (the erastes) and a younger male (the eromenos) usually in his teens

** Greek ‘a tavern for gambling and other activities’

**** Latin ‘Even in Arcadia, there am I’











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