When the Archbishop Asked


The Archbishop Makeshift has asked me to write a brief review of the book about him, and when you are asked in the way he can, you agree. I like to imagine he urged because he warmed to the poem I composed for the collection, but how does one ever know such things when approbation is all about opinion, and faith?

I did tell Makeshift that I had an affinity for Rupert Loydell’s opening list poem, a catalyst for the other observations that follow, but all I got in response was the corrective that it is a litany poem, an unnecessary nuance to my thinking, though I know where he is coming from. As he tells us himself,

Archbishop Makeshift says there is still room for improvement and we should all keep trying harder,

so I am clinging on to the curve.

It is, however, easy to doubt the assurances from Makeshift and his litany of belief, when

Archbishop Makeshift says austerity measures do not mean he doesn’t love us any more,

therefore I take refuse in the poetry of his many other lines, for example,

Archbishop Makeshift says only memories remain after ten seconds of forever.

I waxed lyrical about a number of Loydell’s expressions in this poem, but Makeshift told me from that moment I was on my own and not to bother him any further with my personal thoughts and feelings. I felt like I had heard this kind of snippet from a sermon before.

The two poem narratives from Daniel Y. Harris and Irene Koronas put all the language of the world before, now and after into a melting pot of explanation and obfuscation to engender a rationale from the pulpit of Lucky’s neverending search for meaning.

Can you contemplate if I had put that exposition to the Archbishop? It would be an interesting mathematical attempt to calculate the distance of explosion projected from the crown of his head to the utmost tip of the mitre.

And I forget – these are the expressions of the Archbishop himself, so such observation is superfluous. But how can we be sure they are? H.L. Hix offers possible forgeries, by a disciple, of the Archbishop’s confessions in Two Fragments from the Makeshift School. And if no more than a mere acolyte writing, it is still the poetry that intrigues as much as the philosophising,

I am dead not as the crow flies, but as the creek meanders.

Philosophising does permeate, thankfully, the bulk of this booklet, though one can never be sure how trained this is. Greg Fiddament asks fresh questions in Given that the universe…. and the answers are plagued by continuing interrogatives.

Paul Sutton too presents uncertainty in his two-parter The Gospel of False Starts; Sarah Cave cuts up further possibilities and perhaps happens upon a glimmer of the truth of these poems, the sparrow chuckling/at his spoof, and Martin Stannard conveys an internal dialogue of madness in Poem (Revolution #19) so that Makeshift’s world is indeed impossible to pin down in the many narratives spoken on his behalf.

As Makeshift demanded brief, this is what I have delivered.

To experience the genuinely enjoyable breadth of this booklet, see further details here.

1 thought on “When the Archbishop Asked

  1. This is illuminating and perceptive, as well as being very funny in the whole concept of the ‘dialogue’. It offers me, as a reader not very wise in the ways of contemporary poetry, a very clear path through this lovely book. It is indeed ‘the Gospel according to Makeshift’. or should that be ‘according to St Michael’? Thank you, Mike, for your ‘sparks in the dark’, Jackie Moore

    Liked by 1 person

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