The remnant of an ancient Celtic cross
worn smooth by a millennium of weather
lies barely visible amid the uncut grass
and slanting headstones. Broken,
lichen-stained, it had once been used
to mark a parish boundary; uneathed
a hundred years ago and moved
to clear a furrow for a horse-drawn plough;
now planted here among the Cornish dead.
Inside the church, a water-damaged lithograph
of King Charles the Martyr
keeps watch over a dying congregation.
This far down the western foot of England
you might be in another country altogether”
the sea nearer, the fields muddier,
the accents more archaic and the music of what happens
that much slower. The church stands here
against the winter gales and changing times,
a monument to Saint Salwys or Saint Ildierna
(both equally forgotten),
an invitation to the anxious pilgrim
to meditate on what is here and what is gone
and what’s beyond all boundaries.

Articles by John Drexel

Loading...