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Collected Poems

On a Bachelor Bishop

page 153

On a Bachelor Bishop

The quarry of the ladies' sewing guild,
with opportunities like other men,
shyly prefers to leave the field untilled,
and lies abed with fantasies till ten.

This labourer in the vineyard of the Lord
has never stained his dentures with the grape,
a dozen spinsters wither and grow bored,
wan victims of an unattempted rape.

Upon his tumbled bed the sunlight falls,
and waking eyes Ulysses-like unfold
that map of ecstasy, the bedroom walls,
still patterned with the vine and grapes in gold.

The phallic chart reveals to drowsy eyes
a rapturous diversity of shapes;
his larval thoughts wing forth and crawl like flies
among the vine-leaves and the clustered grapes.

The pattern melts beneath his gaze of fire,
and leaf and fruit, transfigured in that change,
yield transcendental figures of desire,
and tendrils turn to something rich and strange.

And in His Grace's vineyard (private heaven
laid up in pattern) subtly intertwine
subjective thought and feeling and the given
object—the vile, the violent and the vine.

The sewing guild is meeting at eleven
('.. Your Grace..to morning tea..please condescend..')
His Grace, alas! is in his paper heaven.
His Grace is much too busy to attend!