The Green Shrine

‘When we have this friendship of created things our experience of matter undergoes a change; it becomes qualitative; we have communion with it; it becomes consecrated and it is sacramental. Sacramental, what a word!’

– Cecil Collins, ‘The Artist in the New Age’ (1965)


My intimates & I
absconded to the Green Shrine
after years of stasis
in the Grey Chapel

It appears now that
my intimates & I
were full of chutzpah
learning from the verdant world

our scaled artistry
flouting the dogma
of our progenitors 
lining up in their Grey Chapel

For deep in the Green Shrine
we found icons & tapestries
illuminated manuscripts
satchels of sheet-music

which were hyper-charged
with hieroglyph & sigil:
nature’s incandescent language
which occupied the minds

of my intimates & I
for many a supple season
But those in the Grey Chapel
seemed full of displeasure

that we’d ceased attending
their dreary meeting-house
regarded with troubled features
Our hermetic exploits

for in the Green Shrine
there were recondite verses:

John Barleycorn
Twice-born Dionysus
Wheat-crop Messiah
Greene Knight
Viridian Sibyl
You who linger
In the crucifix
As a holly-bough
Gestalt Seed
Sacrificed divinity
Nature’s hierophant
Evergreen high-priest
Persephone Queen
Ratifier of all quests
Everything surging
Always flowing
Via metamorphoses 

And those in the Grey Chapel
proposed to immolate
the Green Shrine
for committing blasphemies

but my intimates & I
never disclosed its location
made it a moveable feast
a shape-shifter of foliage

while the Grey Chapel
over time emptied
its fixed pillars crumbled
to be covered over

with tentacular roots
& a floral shrine
& my intimates & I who’d
absconded to the Green Shrine

scaling our artistry
learning her secret tongue
to ever keep us
in cyclical flux

knew no longer
the linear the static
knew no longer
the sterile cosmos




Mark Wilson


Mark Wilson has published four poetry collections: Quartet For the End of Time (Editions du Zaporogue, 2011), Passio (Editions du Zaporogue, 2013), The Angel of History (Leaky Boot Press, 2013) and Illuminations (Leaky Boot Press, 2016). He is the author of a verse-drama, One Eucalyptus Seed, about the arrest and incarceration of Ezra Pound after World War Two, as well as a tragi-comedy, Arden. His poems and articles have appeared in: The Black Herald, The Shop, 3:AM Magazine, International Times, The Fiend, Epignosis Quarterly, Dodging the Rain, The Ekphrastic Review, Rasputin and Le Zaporogue.



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