After Iconoclasm: A Reflection on Technique
The emptied niche is a womb,
And the great window, burst,
A stone-stringed larynx
And the gouge-marks on the eyes of saints
Record in Ogham
How their gaze held the wielder of the knife
And called him, ‘Cain’,
For it’s always murder, of the life
The image veils
(hence the requirement for official
So the icon-breaker is advised
To leave no trace:
No frescoed drapery, no elegant
No painted personhood, and especially
− headless torso, alcove,
or pedestal –
Nothing that calls for something.
After Iconoclasm: Annunciation Re-Assembled
Llanfair, Yr Wyddgrug
I could fear an angel who descends,
Majestic, like the Prince he is,
Bearing a tremendous invitation
Through the loggia that frames him
In a garden all enclosed,
But this angel of Yr Wyddgrug
Is Prince only of shards.
His Virgin we must infer
From this piece of blue
And the Spirit from − is that a bird?
Askew as a broken compass.
This Gabriel of Wales speeds,
A comet heading eastward,
His hair streaming behind him
In a cosmic wind.
‘Such an eager face’
All that remains of him.
Enough for us to glimpse
How ardently respect and hope
At the threshold of that girl’s reply.
Banner image: Jo Mazelis. Angel photo: Madeleine Gray.