A PRAYER FOR YEATS'S SON - William Cecil Poems

 
 

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A PRAYER FOR YEATS'S SON

Once more the mob is howling and half hid
Under the cupola of the dustbin lid
My child screams on: there is no obstacle
Save Paul's edict and the seven bare hills
Whereby the television, and unrest
Bred in the church for centuries, can be stayed
And for an hour I have walked and prayed
Because there is no room for my kind.

I have walked and prayed for this young child an hour
And heard the sirens screaming by the hour
Under the arches of the bridge: and scream
From the licentious streets
Imagining in excited reverie
That the future years had come
Dancing to a Babylonian drum
Far from the traditional values of the See.

May he be granted holiness yet not
Holiness to make his spouse distraught
For some, being holy overmuch
Consider sanctity sufficient end,
Lose human kindness, and maybe
The heart-desiring intimacy
That chooses whether he should married be.

In ecumenism I'd have him chiefly learned
Faith is not had as a gift but faith is earned
By those who are not entirely dutiful;
Yet many that have played the celibate
For holiness' sake, have learned to compromise
For many a poor cleric who has never
Strayed from his moral rictus has had to sever
Faith from duty, ecumenism must make him wise.

An intellectual failure is the worst,
So let him think conservatives accursed
Have I not seen the holiest man born
Miss the final blasting horn
Because of his evangelicus?
Barter that freedom and every good
By radical natures understood
All for an aged man who's sanctimonious.

And may he belong to a church
Where all is peace and fruitfulness
For celibacy and chastity are the tares
Of the human, not divine.
How but in change and revolution
Is anything born?
Ceremony's a name for the out of date,
And Custom for the slow-changing See.

(with apologies to W. B. Yeats)