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Ewan MacPherson

You couldn’t really ask a saint to tea
In Kensington.
They are in many ways too close to God
And flames of holiness can also singe,
Especially if you are respectable.

We had a teacher in the parish once
Who followed otters everywhere they went;
Knew what they ate from what they left behind.
A bit like that with saints. If you are poor,
A leper in your way and quite oppressed,
Then men and women, who gave all for God,
Will find you as you are and show the way,
If you would care to take it, back to Him.

To some they shine like stars.
They sit in self-effacing, silent prayer
And something like the scent of lavender,
Which lingers in the early morning light
As if it was itself the breath of God.
What if I didn’t have them in to tea,
And went with startled tears to follow them?
When I thought that, I saw eternity
Just as it was right here in Kensington.

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