Vienna’s Stephansdom


Vienna’s Stephansdom

How to read
      the intricacies of faith
chiselled into pale stone
      every plane every angle
and in the cool silent shadows
      weary emblems of ecstatic energy
of saintly narratives
      and terrifying passions

The names in the inscriptions
      gradually fading into dust
the corrosive way
      of the world
of all life
      humbled by death

What persists
      is the belief
and something of the love
      the kiss that outlives
the tears
      the cross borne with a smile

Through the towering spire
      cold winds whisper
and in the square below
      the carriage wheels grind
and hard hooves resound
      on the worn cobblestones

Yes a monument
       to the warmth of fellowship
to a common purpose
      expressed in dying crafts
an overwhelming art in which
      the devil is in the detail

John Lyons


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