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This poem is taken from PN Review 218, Volume 40 Number 6, July - August 2014.

Ritual (for Brian Jones) Paul McLoughlin

   for Brian Jones (1938–2009)

1. L’église Saint-Ouen, Pont-Audemer

Killing time, I happen on the mass I knew
in Latin as an altar boy, loving its sound.
Here, in another foreign tongue, its cant
is lost again to choreography, the host held up
to murmur and let melt. Voices flattered
by a kind acoustic sing in unison. It is
beyond all thought. Your search for purpose
took you otherwhere. There is no God.

But there is history, this imposing mass,
its lantern tower, the bridge by Odomar
that gave the place its name, things to admire,
while communicants stand with their priest
in prayer. When you were a child and real,
you lay up on your tar roof itching for the world.
...


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