Black heads that fished and swam

in distant archipelagos now bow in resolve

before the tearful Virgin of Arabia.

No scarf or shroud cancels the acceptable women.

Nave, aisles, vestibules and outer steps are thronged,

all seats long ago taken and divided.


Children swarm and faint and clap

as words slip down the screens

on a trellis of easy tunes.

Haunted eyes learn the ways of fervour,

seeking a “heart of honey” against which

all air-conditioning is powerless.