Lay for the Day 25th
feast of St Crispin and St Crispinian, fourth-century martyrs. According
to an English tradition, they fled persecution and settled at Faversham
in Kent, in a house on the site of the Swan Inn, which was still honoured
by pilgrims as late as the 17th century. This English legend may account
for the fact that Henry V, in Shakespeares play, refers to them
six times in his speech before the battle of Agincourt, which was fought
on their feast day. Crispin and Crispinian were supposed to have been
brothers, and shoemakers, and hence they are the patron saints of that
trade. From the book of Praises:
Of the Shoes
Of the poet, the dauntless brogues,
find their own way home.
the word of command,
theyre off like two fine chestnut mares.
Also, sleek as the pair of ducks
watched in egoless
dart down the canal
foot from the water
then take the bridge in a single
synchronised parabolic hop
land with arrowy
in twin plumes of spray,
footwear takes the kerb
and puddled gutter in its stride.
These, if the pavements were a grey,
stretch of Channel,
be stout Thames barges,
one then the other
catching the best of a stiff breeze
as they beat up the strait for home.
won’t see me exchange
my Czechoslovakian shoes.
Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar