Redemptrice of all vows and fealties, Dame
De Sous-Terre, pray for us, pitched beneath
Your mantle of limestone and sifted earth.
Assoil your present and lost children; some
Mettled by virtue, briskly taking Christ,
And some as captives; those to whom the kiss
Of peace is torment in the midst of mass,
Those who salute you with a raised fist.
Spes nostra, salve! Your strange countenance
Is our remaking. Turn, then, its remote
Familial smile upon this Christian rote.
Sly innocence of the blood seized in a trance
By violent knowledge – what it is to know
Our strength. Pray for those neophytes who found
In you, the source of life, their secret wound.
The seraphim with stark pinions aglow
Look blankly at us: we who may be spared,
As well as other ecstasies, the hues
Of burning and the damned at their old cries,
Your varied mercies, variously adored.
– Geoffrey Hill. excerpt from Seven Hymns to our Lady of Chartres