Altering the Altar

Directives to the clergy,
In the Book of Common Prayer,
Command them to officiate,
But fail to tell them where.

An old and hoary question,
At the Supper of the Lord,
Is what position to adopt
When standing at the Board.

For some prefer to face the East,
Their back turned to the church,
While others at the Northern end
Precariously perch.

This controversial argument
Was carried on with zest,
Until, at last, the liturgists
Decreed to face the West.

So, in our newly-fashioned church,
This problem we’ll escape,
Because the altar we’ve designed
Is circular in shape.

Though West is West, and East is East,
Within our kindly fane,
We think we’ve found a clever way
To reunite the twain.

And, in these times of compromise,
It seems to us the best,
To cater for the Nor-Nor-East,
And even Sou-Sou-West.

From S. J. Forrest, Chapter and Verse (London: Mowbray, 1959), pp. 14-15.

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