Waylaid I was spending the night at Saint-Jean
But my rest I forsaking, I rose up and came on
To the chapel at night-time: all empty and clean
Only full of the moonlight and its ghostly sheen.
In the silence I sat down to think and to pray
When the figures in stained glass came down then to play.
Unnoticed I sat there, immersed in the shade
Apostles and saints went to romp, and all played.
Saint John and another in hide-and-go-seek
Were joined by some Mary’s, vivacious but meek.
Saint Peter was dancing along with some fish
Then all came to order, as one of them wish’d.
To conference called, all the martyrs and saints
On the altar they perched with some little restraint.
“All moonshine!” one said, to the general glee
“Indeed!” someone giggled – a pert little she.
“No no!” said an angel and one knowing lamb
“Tis the end of the world!” Then the speaking began.
Agreeing: this chapel, its rector, its minister-priests
None knew Holy Scripture – nor cared in the least
Their preaching was so bad it made angels weep
And would send every listener duly asleep.
And those who attended led scandalous lives
Brought shame on the Gospel. None tried to disguise.
“But God will repay them!” said sternly Saint John.
“For us – tis the moontide! Away and come on!”
The colourful figures cut capers and lept
From railing to window, throughout the transept.
Some singing, some dancing, as merry could be
Their race had been run – in the old Galilee.
All night they went freely about in their fun
Only vanishing as the first rays of the sun
Did signal the start of the glorious day
Then the saints and apostles all vanished away.
Remounted their windows, in pose and in colour
All looking respectfully one to another.
I wondered: “If God sees our hearts and our spite
And one day will repay each wrong and each right
Why does He delay for so long?” Then there came
A whisper, from somewhere, begun with my name –
“Oh – God will repay every wrong, every right!
He comes without warning: a thief in the night!”