Almanac Poetry: Stone and Darkness



The Burial of the Count of Orgaz, by El Greco, oil on canvas, c.1586-88. Church of Santo Tomé, Toledo, Spain. [Wikimedia Commons.]


Stone and Darkness


before the lighting of the Paschal candle, Easter Sunday, St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne


At the side entrance of the cathedral,
in the biting cold,
we draw our jackets closer.
It’s five-thirty in the morning,
the city very quiet,
sky like deep blue velvet,
streaks of yellow light
yet to appear.
The stately procession from the manse begins
— bishop, deacons, precentor and priests,
altar boys.
We could be witnessing a scene
of a thousand years ago
in a medieval courtyard
or, perhaps, from El Greco’s Spain …
but there is no miracle conflation
of Earth and Heaven;
no nobleman who did great good
is lowered into his grave
by saints who’ve descended from Paradise
dressed in golden vestments;
we do not see the soul ascending
assisted by an angel;
there is no Virgin, miscellaneous
saints and angels,
what you will,
watching as the soul soars by;
Christ cannot be seen
presiding over all
on His seat of judgement.


And there is no solemn
ruby-lipped boy
dressed in funereal black
standing in the foreground,
pointing to what is going on.




(Acknowledgements: previously published in my second poetry collection, Lionheart Summer, Picaro Press, 2011; reprinted by Ginninderra Press, 2018.)


Read more from Kevin Densley HERE


Kevin Densley’s latest poetry collection, Sacredly Profane, is available HERE


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Kevin Densley is a graduate of both Deakin University and The University of Melbourne. He has taught writing and literature in numerous Victorian universities and TAFES. He is a poet and writer-in-general. His fifth book-length poetry collection, Please Feed the Macaws ... I'm Feeling Too Indolent, was published in late 2023 by Ginninderra Press. He is also the co-author of ten play collections for young people, as well as a multi Green Room Award nominated play, Last Chance Gas, which was published by Currency Press. Other writing includes screenplays for educational films.

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