Mass on Christmas Morning
This morning it’s different
My fingertips, skimming holy water,
Have lost their brisk impatience.
Pews full of foreign fathers and alien clans.
Old biddies wheeled out guiltily.
Normally scattered morse code, today
We rub shoulders like recalled truants, a medley
Of fine, cool smelling coats, shoulders
Rain-strewn with mercury,
Of renewed Celtic hoops
And the rustling fibres of unwrapped costumes.
Four lighted candles and the spindly tree
Loom over the mute children’s liturgy
Uncoaxable and unamused.
And I’m bubbling among the cronies,
Thoughts on stomach-fluttering packages;
Window-misting oven smells.
I know next week I’ll pick mental holes in the sermon,
Endure the syncopated choir and the neverending
But today-isn’t this enough?
I’ll welcome the respite, add my voice to the chorus
Letting it melt into the gaggle
The old-known words brimming with the unarticulated
Reaching and relief of unexceptional lives.
I’ll sink into the transient comfort
Of happiness en-masse, without squinting
Beyond the curtained tabernacle.