Ghazal 40 - St James of Edgecote - for Seamus

there is a green James a yellow James and a red one as well.
do not call them Greater or Lesser or the Just - do not tell

them apart. one is the sea’s secret - one is bashed to a pulp.
at Edgecote there is a pink James made surplus as his gospel

of straw. his cross has been planted far inland by the gulf
of battle. he is green as his yew’s thrust - red as the arils

yellow as the lichen there - pink as the stonework - as he waits
to be opened. he answers to Habbakuk; in dust both dwell

in their tombs at Ostrakine in the Sinai - where the State
is a city built on blood - is horses and the lust uncorralled

of leopards and wolves unprovided with bits - and ships that drive
the deep before the gale - helms useless. trust in St James who quelled

the tongue and the war in the members. an economy thrives
of these Jameses - greener than yew - mustard-hued - red from quarrel.

Woodford Halse
14 September 2021

A reflection on the iconography and colours attributed to James the Greater, James the Lesser and James the Just, or James the son of Zebedee, James the son of Alphaeus or James the brother of Jesus.

And on the Book of Habbakuk and the Epistle of James. Luther called the latter ” an epistle of straw” and was going to declare it uncanonical. Habbakuk and the epistle author are said to be buried at El Felusiyat the former Ostrakine in the Northern Sinai. St James at Edgecote stands near the site of the Battle of Edgcote in 1469 during the War of the Roses.

For references, read Habbakuk 1.8, 2.12, 2.15 and James 1.25, 3.3-9 and 4.1-4.