Dancing Dust

Poems by Mollie Caird (1922-2000)

Son et lumière at Christ Church
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The Church and the House beside it,
Frosted in fiery light,
Flaming with words and music,
Leap in the summer night.
Sweet singing youth
Laughs loud at the truth
The aged sages tell ―
Their voices as clear as planets,
The light as bright as a bell.

For light and sound can tell us
Plainer than print or paint
The story of yesterday’s heretic,
Always tomorrow’s saint.
With pomp and power
In his airy tower
Tom hears the tale unfold,
Opens his ancient Osney mouth,
And tolls as it is told.

Fair Isis flows by the Meadow
With slow unruffled tide,
And the brown owls cry in the elm trees
As they have always cried.
The clever machine
Is quiet, unseen,
The audience has gone ―
But owls still hoot in the meadow,
Though nobody switched them on.


Oxford Times, 23 August 1968
The Dancing Dust and other poems, 1983