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The brethren walk about in hats
And up they go and down they go.
The brethren’s hats are black as bats,
Their faces are as white as snow,
And up they go and down they go.

Amen amen they say and then
They turn their faces to the wall.
As if they were not there at all
They turn their faces to the wall.
They are the most peculiar men.

They gather by the sounding seas
And talk with their peculiar god,
A permanently awkward squad
United in their miseries
In chapels by the sounding seas.

Like furtive, liquorless shebeens
Or misbegotten soup tureens,
The chapels stand, as hard as nails,
Against the equinoctial gales,
Can this be what religion means?

Yes, this is what religion means.

—John Whitworth

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