The Basilica of the Holy Blood, Brugge

A squeeze-box performs outside:

The tinny air is pumpingw

Through its half-forgotten song

    Like a failing heart.


The sacred relic’s displayed

In its dull crystal and gold

For visitors to inspect

    As they shuffle by.


The priests sit behind it, bored.

They are no more concerned than

Customs officials might be,

    Suspicious of the queue.


The phial offers itself

As contraband of a kind,

A miraculous symbol

    Taken from a corpse.


Who was this man, whose own song

We have taken for granted

Or heard only in snatches,

    Worth his weight in blood?