[Editor: This poem by P. I. O’Leary was published in The Advocate (Melbourne, Vic.), 2 November 1939.]
Here beauty — not flower-frail or artly-soft
for surface grace
to vibrate with æsthetic pulse alone —
beats commandant thro’ winged, commingled stone.
Austerity of informing strength
exalts from tower to nave,
in arch and architrave,
beam, buttress, plinth and pillar, and where, aloft,
each penetrant, poised spire —
dark-stark on star-stain,
white-bright in noon-fire,
rock-strong in gale-gusts —
thro’ pocketed windways of the ’plane.
Not from mere patterns, howso superfine,
outward, avowed, published and external —
be lift and lean and line
wrapt in ne’er
wardellian beguilement of design —
is that Ultimate Beauty to be won
towards which run
men’s thirsting spirits like unquenched streams of flame.
Here, in due fabric, fane and frame,
in grandeur of gothic order set,
not stone on stone, unbreathing, inert, dead,
but ranked, chiselled symbols of the Eternal —
stone, grained and grooved and groined;
wood, jointed, carven, joined;
wood, figurative of the Tree,
stone, apt type of the Tomb,
whence rose the Victor-Shape
at Easter from the gloom —
defeated gloom of the grave —
salving earth’s infinite loss
with surety of the Cross,
whose soaring emblem Eire gave,
(Eire with wave
at her every edge)
St. Patrick thus giving a double pledge.
And here, greatest, come from grain and grape —
sacramental sign of the August Design —
the Bread and Wine.
P. I. O’L.
The Advocate (Melbourne, Vic.), 2 November 1939, p. 28
Also published in:
The Advocate (Melbourne, Vic.), 2 August 1944, p. 11
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