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Sacrificial

I am the priest
who glides saintly
to the altar,
round and round
the censer goes
spewing foul fumes
known to hell alone,

while embers fly like those
that fell
before the world was made,
scattering in the congregation's midst;
gathered ghosts, visions
of all I once have been
come to watch the spectacle
with dull, grey eyes,
and tongues
too thin to sing:

Her name is a destined elegy
thrice pronounced,
and I,
sacrificial on the altar,
succumb to the fire above.

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Comments

First line put me off reading..can you explain how to glide saintly? As for the exaggerated and ridiculous description of the Mass well all i can say is what church do you visit and is it still standing or has the congregation been burnt up along with the building.
Jimm

I got this image from mass last Sunday (my local parish, I'm Catholic) as the priest was incensing the altar. The wind blew his cassock as he strode round it, swinging the censer. It looked at though he was gliding, and he looked saintly.

Are you reading this poem literally? It is all figurative. Why is the description of the mass ridiculous? It is intentionally exaggerated, because it isn't an actual mass I am describing.

The building was unburnt, and the congregation is in no way harmed. :P

No verse is free for the man who wants to do a good job. - TS Eliot

http://www.wsgeorge.com/

author comment

that you are being intentionally hyperbolic, the structure of the piece encourages a straight reading. There is ( well I can't trace it) irony or sarcasm just disdain in a sort of bad parody of the Mass. I take it you don't like the smell of frankincense and that this is only know to hell alone? If you are the priest would you really describe your sacred ritual like this?
Jimm

It is wrong to assume that the poem is not hyperbolic. I love the smell of frankincense. I've been a mass server before.

This is a dark poem, and the "mass" being celebrated here is a macabre twist of the usual sacred ritual. I begin as a priest, but make allusions to the devil with the vapours known to hell alone (brimstone and sulfur, as the Bible puts it) coming out of the censer instead of the usual incense. The priest gliding "saintly" stands as contradictory, seeing that the incense is hellish in character. That too is intentional.

I am also the congregation (or at least, they're all I have ever been, refer to this link for more on that idea http://www.neopoet.com/workshop/poems/bits-yesterday) attending the mass.

Knowing the mass is about a sacrifice, you should see the importance of the last stanza. I am the sacrifice being "celebrated" at the mass. In many ways, this is a suicidal poem.

Through out the poem, the persona is more like an observer, looking at what I am doing to myself (sacrificing myself) as my past watches on.

No verse is free for the man who wants to do a good job. - TS Eliot

http://www.wsgeorge.com/

author comment

Is not of my culture or religion , that's why it's hard to give any suggestion for improvement
Anyway I thought I'd say I 've dropped by.

❤❤❤❤❤❤

Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words
........Robert Frost☺

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No need to get bogged down in the details of any religion; it's just the human element that is important...but thanks for reading. I only hope you enjoyed it.

No verse is free for the man who wants to do a good job. - TS Eliot

http://www.wsgeorge.com/

author comment
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