Alan Morrison



The Recusants (c. 1986)



Our natures, frayed with  sun-warped books

blanched khaki in the window beam;

cobwebbed in spider-hatching nooks

behind the hulking curtain screen

thick as the gown on plaster Mary

enshrined in the spare unpainted room.


Hood-souls, crouched in contrary

cottage-dark where doubts mushroom,

plunge the nicotined reredos

into outer blackness. Biding

by altar-jambs, we ghost a cross

in rigged ballot – then into hiding

opinions in empty larder priest-holes,

cowed by the blue torch Goosy-Gander.


Too strapped for brass, too bookish for proles,

our emblem, a grounded germander;

recusants of class – rubbed rosaries

for worry beads; drubbed socialism

waxing in candle-lit crannies.


Scrapers of coupon catechism

trampled by the Thatcher anathema –

snagged grants bar university

for familial fiscal asthma:

lapsed capitalists in bankruptcy.


Our stomachs howl hosts of weak refills

from stewed tea-bags: we fast past Lent.

Episcopacies of toast-racked bills

numb us to TV’s otiose vent:,

while our own obscure, un-broadcast soap

is watched by the set-top’s porcelain Pope.







Alan Morrison © 2008

from A Tapestry of Absent Sitters (Waterloo Press, 2008)