Anti Mass

by Graham Burchell

Within the Parish church of Buckfast, Devon, burned in an arson attack,
and after the art installation, ‘Anti Mass’ (2005) by Cornelia Parker.

After an age   one bird does cry out above this place
one in a rush    passing over     the aftertaste
is a pull of breeze through summer branches
and me   I’m sat in the ribcage of this gutted
roasted whale of a god house   sat on the side

where the bones are shattered
Where all I can see of piety is a celtic cross
a crying face   where charcoal fragments
ash and scorches have been air-brushed
the altar   chapels   and tracery windows

have taken on wildflowers   here is air
and shadow patterns   spaces for the unexpected
aerobatics of swallows
                                              hate far off      burned
another church                  a creator noticed
saw the black char as emblematic

ripe for hanging from puppet wires  ripe
for hanging like an explosion   held
at the midpoint of its moment   devoid
of sound and weight   dark light that beacons
beckons one to spear a thought.