It's always the Big Ideas
    that get personified: Death, Wisdom, Eternity,
    their capital letters lining up
    in the cold marble halls of the unconscious.

    You can tell by the flowing beard
    and grand costumed gestures; the banners and fanfare
    in stanza after stanza of classical poetry, centuries
    of fat burghers posing in portraits
    as the God of Fortune, or Zeus, or Nike.

    As for my tribe of the incorrigibly second class,
    whose deities will never reach the Spiritual Top Ten,
    ours is a quieter worship, more commiseration
    than awe. The Immortal of Loose Change is a favourite,
    as is the God of Small Aches, Sore Knees and Bruises.

    There's a Muse for those of us who aren't CEOs
    and MPs, who never got straight As or went to Harvard,
    who spend our days dusting behind History's footnotes.

    Not for us the Spirit of Nation or Race, the rattling of sabres.
    Our patron saints send taxis going in our direction,
    clearance sales, coupons for free saucepans and vitamins.

    In our fables, the Angel of Assertiveness is forever battling
    the Demon of Things Which Don't Quite Work As Advertised,
    and our Fall is in the bathroom, or down wet stairs,
    never so precarious a perch as Paradise.

    Somewhere we know there is a Heaven
    for Lost Architecture, where every old building and stonepile
    has its own address, and nothing ever gets torn down.

    And then there's one for the rest of us, an Afterlife
    worth dying for: the Goddess of taking it slow,
    of lazy afternoons and large warm fields of grass,
    who comes to me as I fall asleep, her long hair
    sweeping clouds under the sky's endless carpet.

14 October 2001   15:13 hours
gift { } candle