(This Life) Part 3: The Butcher’s Wi(n)dow
Dark; line between earth and sky lost.
We move, grounded, path familiar,
following the soft rounded road
past the oak, The Plough, St Lawrence,
turn into The Street, sun now faint
bloodstained thin through the thick wet clouds,
cross by the sunk Methodist Church,
up the steep, on our left Crossways,
until we’re at Lyme’s Parade, where
N’Ville’s, The Butcher’s window stars,
carcasses spotlighted, displayed
strung on hook and chain, sinews stretched,
prime cuts custom trimmed, arranged
to showcase The Master’s cutting art.
The dogs are mesmerised, I too.
In the vaulted back shadows move,
stationed at their blocks disciples
chopping bones, crushing, slicing through
tendon, peeling flesh, paring fat,
working soundless upon the dead,
transporting me back
to that church where five thousand sheltered,
and God could do no more than watch
as under his watch they were slaughtered,
blood harrowed into the cracked Earth,
body upon body laid, a grave
for itself, its past, its present,
this day, truncated by the machete.
The dogs shift, restless, tuned to my thoughts;
we head back home
taking the alley past The Barn.