Pandemic Archive

Lockdown Mass

By Paul Hibbert, University of St Andrews . . .


Between a moment unpursued,
And an end that comes at last:
Alone in empty longing, shattered
Days of sorrow will not pass.

Kyrie, Kyrie Eleison

And the bones that you have broken
In these times will not rejoice.
Chosen one, your tortured story
Finds each day another’s voice.

Kyrie, Kyrie Eleison

Futile, futile, repetition
Drags a spectre’s corpse along
Through unending night’s perdition
In the rhythm of a song.

Kyrie, Kyrie Eleison


High and distant, cold as starlight
Illumination from the past
Who can bear the awesome silence?
Of all the hopes and fears, the last.

Son of Woman, noble peasant
Crafter of the words, our Word,
Who can reach you through the shadows
Lit by the ancient tales we heard?

In abstraction we adore you
Noble thought that’s found – nowhere.
Avoiding lightness, darkness, substance:
Father of all, we find you there.


I believe that duty binds us
To old monuments of stone,
Engraved with ancient rights, So Fathers
Can kill a child with rules alone.

I believe in the church of pain
Where suffering is glorified.
While hanging on the tree, abandoned
Love dies slowly, terrified.

I believe in a broken spirit,
Desperate to search and find
Hope a protection, masking fear,
Trusting strangers to be kind.

Will I believe the passing dream
Of the light of endless day
Far away from choking darkness
Where the strangling night holds sway?

Sanctus & Benedictus

God, above a weeping world, remains
Crystalline, pure and wholly other;
But blesséd among us now, the mortal
Love of mothers, sisters, brothers.

Agnus Dei

Insufferable madmen cry
That the price of trade has changed
And so the law of wealth demands:
We cannot always be estranged.

Patriarchs set the cost, and grant
Grief no currency, but attest
Five hundred thousand corpses not enough:
Throw your body there, with the rest.