The Substance of Prayer
Inside the walls of Lateran
The Pope kneels at this prayers
And the silent hopes of the Llogrian lord
Are bound and wound with the airs
Of a thousand nights, knightly arrayed
Around a painted table there displayed.
Inside the walls of Camelot
The king’s poets knelt and prayed
Remembering the bells and smells of the East
Where his heart ever wish he’d stayed;
Prayers were offered to and offered for
In the day of the turning, for the sins he bore.
Inside the walls of Byzantium
The Emperor’s daughter prayed in her garden
As the Saviour himself had done long before;
The days had in her eyes been darkened
With the sad tales streaming from the North
Where lost, it seemed, was all once of worth.
Pope, poet, and princess, all praying the same prayer
Where moth devours and death decays
The violence runs in the sultry airs
But the eternal promise was the substance of their prayers.