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Crooked Spire of Chesterfield

We cannot know this legendary spire

without her malformed spine. And yet the ancient

shoulders bear their leaded chevrons lightly

like a cloak silvering her vertebrae

through seven centuries of rain. Otherwise

the eastward tilt could not puzzle you so, nor could

a tear stagger down the flecked cheek

to that graveyard where chastened giants turn.

Otherwise this church would seem just one

of many, striving for the stars of heaven

and would not stoop to whisper to the broken:

would not, in all its crooked harmony,

sing of mercy: for here there is no voice

that does not call you; you must change your heart


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