It was the venue where women
debuted their second best outfits
not the clothes worn at weddings
or the formal balls declining in number and importance
but not yet extinct.
Hats, gloves, unladdered stockings and expensive new outfits.
Thou shalt not covet.
By Beatitudes the meek shall inherit the earth
in the 1960’s provincial city they were owed.
white plus wife plus wealth minus questioning
equalled ideal.- hierarchal peak
except for priests.
In a single channelled five hour per day television country
religion filled space between sport and work.
Priests, conducting services deciphering scripture
partly explanation partly myth enhancement
On Sundays as the congregation emptied into the vestry
many of the faithful contrived opportunity
to be seen engaging conversation
or issue invitation.
A priest for a dinner guest
that was a boast to neighbours before and after.
To be arranged with the parish head
a cleric who had held the title a good many years
a wily old sheepdog
who knew proximity diminished exclusivity
inaccessibility maintained prestige.
Most were declined.
Perhaps it was saturation television or travel
at some point in the 1970s
the aura dissolved .
Nowadays they skip between services
The priest as celebrity
like the Kennedy’s,
Martin Luther King
did not survive the 1960’s.