Like some ancient monument it pushes its head
above the trees. Under the massed amorphous green,
unsuspected, the city quietly lies unseen:
the dome might be a mausoleum to the dead.
Streaked with ages’ dirt, it doesn’t require much
to transpose it (if one is so minded) to some fabled
riverbank, a watercolour or engraving neatly labeled
Robert Orme, or a Daniell or some such.
But I who know it’s no cupola-ed tomb
wonder in what repair the ratchet is, the date
of its last greasing, in what dubious state
preserved the precious optics in that room.
Now no less a reliquary than the chapel’s own,
those old Jesuits who turned an eye skywards
would hardly credit this rookery of birds.
There, I see two now…no, one: the other’s flown.