Autun Cathedral, Magi – Angela Graham


Does the sky have tent-poles?

And some cathedrals are forested.
God walks in their depths on a December afternoon
while the topmost branches brush the undersides
of planets fixed mid-orbit
− those stained-glass windows fruiting overhead.
Here no one thinks of weight, of downwardness
and how the roof desires it.

God pauses among the pillars
at a carved capital that always lifts his heart:

an artist like himself, from this blunt-cornered oblong stone,
gives us a bird’s view of a bed
draped in a ruched counterpane, three kings tucked in,
but the eyes of one, popped open, register
Why? Who? still unaware
of the angel at his shoulder, stroking his hand,
whose other index finger points at a star.

God sighs, at the weight borne by the moment
after such a moment; at how he waits
for a man to look up at the sky
and recognise and seize
the chance of joy.


Angela Graham