At the High Mass

The senses start to quicken as the bell
Heralds the linen-silken train of men
Into the giant jewel-box of the church.
The expectation of what’s old and known
From age-long repetition weights the gloom:
The quickening thrill of God-made-man, made Bread.

This solemn celebration of the rite
Is elemental nature consummate:
The very stuff of earth is made to shout
And yield its fundamental self to God;
Flame, water, incense, metal, stone, and dust–
Arrayed in splendour—crying out to Him.

The house is filled with smoke, the Lamb is slain–
All may be clear and clean, and live again.