The Caedmon Jazz

by Chris Jones

Now we must sing…

Yes?  All eyes converge on him.
A stillness thickens the hall,
stirred by a nervous shuffling few.
Now his tongue,
ox-sized in his man’s-mouth,
has turned to tripe.
But it has sliced the silence once
And the silence is not yet done with this tongue
or the service it still owes.

Now we must sing         of the origin of things

It is a beginning, granted,
but the hall-guests have heard better,
glare restless, remain unimpressed.
Perhaps day-long bullshit-shovelling
is the limit of Caedmon’s capabilities.
Beer mug bangs empty on neighbouring table.

Now we must sing         a hymn, praising Him
the creator,
author of all things,

Hild overhears from the cloister
and, laying aside her pen,
Abbess permits herself a smile.
A little formless, she thinks,
but nothing that can’t be tutored.

He first adorned the earth
and set the sun on high,
beacon in heaven’s lighthouse,
which carves an arch
daily in the church of sky,
which coaxes seed to set,
which caresses the corn,
which hones harvest to ripeness.
We have to praise Him, like we should.

So, this is how the vernacular sounds
in the service of the sacred?
Hild picks up her pen,
translates song to script.
The rest is story

Categories: Poetry

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