High Dyes (1968)

It’s hard to ascertain a norm
For Anglicans in uniform;
A Church that numbers devotees
In thirty-nine varieties;
To which, it seems we need to bring
A little bit of everything.

A coat of many colours built
In pattern, like a patchwork quilt,
With strings of ornamental beads,
To symbolize our private creeds;
A variegated, motley dress,
Of perfect comprehensiveness.

Which uniform of varied hue,
Would need a color-filter too,
That faithful friends might choose the best,
And shun the hues that they detest,
And members of the C. of E.
Discern the things they want to see.

Since party-politics, in church,
Are giving ground before research,
We’d mostly use unstable dyes,
And hope that water from the skies
Would make the vivid colours run,
And coalesce them into one.

Our efforts to attain a norm
For Anglicans in uniform,
Unhappily, does not appear
The easiest of tasks, we fear,
Within a Church that came to be
By Act of Uniformity!

—S.J. Forrest, Parson’s Play-pen (London: Mowbray, 1968), pp. 19-20.

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