From Don Paterson's God's Gift to Women, his much awarded book, the first poem, 'Prologue'.
A poem is a little church, remember,
you, its congregation, I, its cantor;
so please, no flash, no necking in the pew,
or snorting just to let your neighbour know
you get the clever stuff, or eyeing the watch,
or rustling the wee poke of butterscotch
you'd brought to charm the sour edge off the sermon.
Be upstanding. Now: let us raise the fucking tone.
Today, from this holy place of heightened speech,
we will join the berry-bus in its approach
to that sunless pit of rancour and alarm
where language finds its least prestigious form.
Fear not: this is spiritual transport,
albeit the less elevated sort;
while the coach will limp towards its final stage
beyond the snowy graveyard of the page,
no one will leave the premises. In hell,
the tingle-test is inapplicable,
though the sensitives among you may discern
the secondary symptoms: light sweats, heartburn,
that sad thrill in the soft part of the instep
as you crane your neck to size up the long drop.
In the meantime we will pass round the Big Plate
and should it come back slightly underweight
you will learn the meaning of the Silent Collection
for your roof leaks, and the organ lacks conviction.
My little church is neither high nor broad,
so get your heads down. Let us pray. Oh God
Don Paterson's T.S.Eliot Lecture here. The PIW bio and 'The Box' .
But what I really want to read is The Book of Shadows. (Vivek, you listening?)
I generally have some discomfort with the use of the word 'albeit', but maybe that's just me.