Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

In Southwark Cathedral

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

In Southwark Cathedral

Article excerpt

What are those angels fluttering on the pillars in the choir-looking fresh against the Gothic stone, in their paint of burnished verdigris, with flounces on their dresses, flowered coronets, and ruffled wings about to open and fly off, soaring to the vault? An ancient nun,

an Anglican, of course, loitering in the apse as if in wait forjust such curious visitors as we, explains: tomorrow is Michaelmas, and these are all his angels, usually posting in the firmament, but come down now to celebrate, embodied in the scraps from rubbish bins

old newspapers, tinfoil, apple peelings, even banana skins, all molded into fluid forms and painted from a spray can, gilded, and then hung along with autumn wreaths in the same hues. O handiwork of God and man, recycled for His greater glory! At the far end of the nave,

the beadle on a ladder hoists and pins a final leafy tribute to the saint. We walk around, three spectators of time who have dropped in with scattered other tourists on the house of God, studying the tombs and monuments to Shakespeare, Gower, a queen or so, a quire

of bishops-all lit, the quick, the dead, with warm September rays stained crimson, violet, blue. …

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