We, who remember the Faith, the grey-headed ones,
Of those Anglo-Catholic Congresses swinging along,
Who heard the South Coast salvo of incense-guns
And surged to the Albert Hall in our thousands strong
With 'extreme' colonial bishops leading in song;
We, who remember, look back to the blossoming May-time
On ghosts of servers and thurifers after Mass,
The slapping of backs, the flapping of cassocks, the play-time*,
A game of Grandmother's steps on the vicarage grass -
"Father, a little more sherry. I'll fill your glass."
We recall the triumph, that Sunday after Ascension,
When our Protestant suffragan suffered himself to be coped -
The SYA* and the Scheme for Church Extension -
The new diocesan's not as 'sound' as we'd hoped,
And Kensit threatens and has Sam Gurney poped?
Yet, under the Travers baroque, in a limewashed whiteness,
The fiddle-back vestments a-glitter with morning rays,
Our Lady's image, in multiple-candled brightness,
The bells and banners - those were the waking days
When Faith was taught and fanned to a golden blaze.
* Dr Simon Cotton tells me that SYA means the Seven Years Association and refers me to Ivan Clutterbuck's Marginal Catholics. A junior branch of the Church Union, founded by Peter Winckworth at the Anglo-Catholic Congress of 1933, and with its own chapel (of the Ascension) in the Shrine at Walsingham. Members undertook obedience to the precepts of the Church until the next ACC, scheduled for 1940. So the mis-en-scene of the poem is pinned down to 1933-1940.