The Saturday poem: The Loneliness of Flesh

A new poem by Michael Coady

The priest may well have said
that Christ incarnate embraced
the lowliness of flesh,

but from my pew, side aisle
and seven pillars back,
the word reached my ear

not as lowliness of flesh
embraced by Christ,
but loneliness-

a word I could embrace
as new light on the old's
devalued telling.


All credit to that priest
for what he perhaps
misread, or I misheard,

but recognised –
the loneliness of flesh:
a given sign, maybe,

that on the ground,
despite unyielding pillars
and depleted pews,

the need for the old story
still persists,
its lonely shepherds

as they pass, leaving
wombspace for a new
transfigured telling.

  • Michael Coady's most recent collection is Given Light (Gallery Press)