-- This suite of poems was written for the Red Room Company’s Clubs & Societies Project about the stained glass in St Bartholomew’s Anglican Church, Norwood, SA, 2012

1. Saint George

After the Heaton, Butler & Bayne Window (Early 20th C)

Sleepy-eyed George
in honeycomb and blue

your dragon popped
and now deflating

curled at the bottom
of this sheer terrarium 

as dead as sin is living. 

2. On the transportation of the North Window

The church’s altar (or North) window originally resided at St Peter’s Cathedral in North Adelaide but around 1910 it was dismantled and reassembled in St Bartholomew’s.


Dismantle the beards 
and the odd feet,
the green of date palms 
and paned faces,
the urgent sky’s banner 
and dinner plate haloes;
fracture with care
the bended knees, 
the fingers pointing 
to already over.
Dis-piece the wing-stumps
of angels’ shoulders,
blunt Christ’s aphorisms: 
word from word;
flat-pack and taxi 
through electric dusk,
to rise again in the East.

3. Nativity

– After Napier Waller’s “Nativity” Window (1938) 

         The infant attentive
to Mary: 
      God struck wordless 
by a mother’s love. 

And the townsfolk gather – 
as at a doorway – 

unaware of that red 
distant star, that shows up 

like a blemish on a scan.

4. Crux

 – After Napier Waller’s “Crucifixion” (1941) 

Beneath a calm Christ, 

these few followers 
(like cosmonauts 
breathing rarefied air)

And apart
the centurion’s armoured face: 

wind-set, incredulous.

5. Two Saints
 – After two Heaton, Butler & Bayne Windows of St Alban and St George (Early 20th C)

George a Greek import claimed              
but Alban native
to England.
                    This the Church
of Gladstone, Disraeli.
George enclosed in iron,
his beaked feet
sharper than the dragon’s. 
Alban – nonchalant in sandals – 
shoulders a river 
of blood.
George to kill; 
Alban to die.

Heaven’s gates above.