Tuesday, February 06, 2024

Waiting for the Pope

The Pope and Archbishop were coming
And so we waited in the morning sun
Sensible, well pressed skirts for the girls
Boys in sharp shorts, our khaki school uniforms
At the behest of stern teachers and chaperons
We all made an effort to tamp down our ruffian ways
Arrayed, or rather displayed, in formation at the roadside

Earlier, after assembly, we'd marched out of the school gates
Passing through the dusty streets of North Ridge
And made our way to Ring Road, all the while chanting
Oh the heat, the hours passed without a sighting
No water, no snacks, but the novelty of the excursion compensated
Seven year olds will find their own entertainment
Serene and papal, we practiced our hand waves
Then, inspired, tried out our Polish-accented English
"Holy, holy, very holy... I bless you, my children."

In the event, after all that, it was a two minute affair
No popemobile as it turned out, a rather sober procession
Cars bearing dignitaries preceded by the motorcade
Cheers, such cheers, and a mad scramble
We bore witness

A slight man in the flesh, pint-sized
Can't say that he was larger than life
Still, you could have sworn he looked you directly in the eye
Made you feel a connection even at the roadside
Our healthy skepticism of catholicism was almost overcome
The great man theory, we'd learned some kind of civic lesson
We savored the escape and managed to wrangle a further hour of fun
Then slowly, very slowly, made our way back to North Ridge Lyceum

ghana stamp pope john paull II archbishop of canterbury with president Hilla Limann 8-10th May 1980 20 pesewas

Waiting for the Pope, a playlist

A soundtrack for this note (spotify version)
education church or state

See previously Articles of Faith and On Catholicism

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Writing log: March 28, 2022

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