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E-Bulletin Competition Winner June 2012

E-Bulletin Competition Winner June 2012

This is the winning entry to the June 2012 E-bulletin Competition. Congratulations to Mary O’Keeffe.

The Stairway which led to
the Shrine of St. Thomas Becket

The route is mapped:
A cathedral tour.
The guidebook, though,
Offers inadequate preparation,
Stone is made liquid:
The stairway
Drops in a flight of shallow waves,
Dipping eternally,
The soundless, polished swell for ever
Lapping towards the nave
And our feet,
Like the blood of Thomas Becket.
Ice and snow can carve rock,
Coldly pure forces;
But here,
Across time,
The stone has been moved by
The soles of pilgrims,
Touched by their knees and hands,
Warmed by their faith,
Or their search for it,
And the stone has melted.

Mary O’Keeffe

In Canterbury Cathedral, steps lead from the nave to the quire; those on the north side are markedly more worn than those on the south, the result of hundreds of years of pilgrims’ visits to what was once Becket’s shrine.

© Mary O’Keeffe 1999

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