I sing of alms and the man

In the charcoal suit

At Matins (1662) somewhere

On the eastern side of England,

The Low Church side –

Excepting Walsingham.


Just as he is without one plea

But extracting money from you and me.


The black and white vicar in his scarf and hood,

Prophesies it would be good

If I gave my life to Jesus.

But I did that long ago to Sanctus bells

Among colours, lights and mystery

And the erotic glance of Mozart


We are, said the black and white vicar,

To adjure such things as

Idolatry, the very marks of the beast.


He and his churchwarden

And his charcoal congregation

Do not require Transubstantiation.


They celebrate their own most holy sacrament

Every Sunday at precisely 11.58 –

The solemn elevation of the collecting plate.


Peter Mullen