Peter Hammill

The Lie (Bernini's Saint Theresa)

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Genuflection, erection in church.
Sacristy cloth, moth-eaten shroud.
Secret silence, sacred secrets
Accumulate dust, aggravate the eye.

Incautious laughter after confession.
Benediction, fictional fear
Hidden faces, grace is a name,
Like Chastity, like Lucifer, like mine.

You took me through the window-stain,
Drowned in image, incense, choir-refrain
And slow ecstasy
I'd embrace you if I only knew your name

The silent corner haunts my shadow prayers
Ice-cold statue, rapture divine,
Unconscious eyes,
The open mouth,

The wound of love,
The Lie.
You took me, gave me reasons for
Saints and missals, vigils, all the more

Holy martyrs
I'd embrace you and walk through
The one-way door
I'd embrace you, but it would be

Just another lie
Which is to say that the statue is the inspiration, but not the Lie)


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