THE MISERICORD      
 

Turning up the misericord,
He found the girl, the unicorn couched on her lap,
Her arms ringed round the white belly.
 
The O of her arms enfolded him, cool as vellum.
Looking up, he glimpsed the virginal boys,
Chill children in candlelight;
 
White boys of differing height,
Blanched under surplice;
He saw the falling intervals of their beauty -
 
And was circled a moment
Like the unicorn in her arms,
By their bloodless brilliancy.

 
 
   Pauline Stainer.

     *****
(A misericord is the carved  projection of the underside
of a hinged seat of a choir-stall  in a church, for those
incapable of standing for long periods.)