And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!
- And did those feet, William Blake

onsdag 7. desember 2011

The Glazier's Cenotaph

There are in York many churches and in these churches there is a lot of stained glass, beautifully fashioned and some of it dating all the way back to the 14th century, roughly speaking. They are all very proud of their stained glass there and this is absolutely understandable. During my stays in York I have seen much of this glass myself in the course of my church-going, fascinated as I am by its role in Medieval communication and ecclesiastical didacticism (one of my favourite topics of Medieval history as faithful readers may have noticed). For those particularly interested there are even guided tours at the Bedern glazier studio, one of York's sights I have sadly not yet been able to experience.

In not very long I aim to put up a couple of photographs from some of my visits to York's various churches, focussing on its stained glass windows but of course also including other features. As an introduction - or perhaps a teaser - I present to you a picture taken at St. Denys Church, Walmgate, showing Robert de Skelton, a York citizen, holding up a replica of the window he donated to the church at about 1340. When I first saw the painting I was immensely intrigued by it, and somehow I got the idea that this man was the glazier himself, holding up his own craftsmanship before God. Later on I learned that this was not the case, but at that point I had already composed a short verse praising the painting as a cenotaph for the glazier. The premise of the poem is in other words false, but I hope nonetheless that some artistic freedom will be granted, and that you will agree the painting can still justifiably be called the anonymous glazier's monument if not his cenotaph.

The Glazier's Cenotaph

St. Denys' Church, York

Crafted from strange flesh he moves - as light
Allows - his hands at Heaven in piety,
Offering the glass he inhabits. The bright
Shimmer at noon emulates the ruby perfectly

As glass casts its blood on tread-worn tiles. "Here lies"
The letters read, while the glazier's cenotaph,
Fixed between earth and Heaven of his own craft
Filters the light for what is born and dies.
- September 15-16 2011

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