Faux Romanesque

Kathleen Winter

I rivaled you in size.
We were rare and shallow.

Your groined vaulting had to be
of great height to take the weight

of our central tower. Quite thick
but with a single nave,

I bore a band of blind arcading.

Your lancet window let in
very little light.

The problem was resolved
by placing a dome on squinches.

Tending to splay the walls,
your rounded arches struck the visitor

 with simplicity.

Pointed barrel vaulting meant
my downward thrust was more direct.

No tribunes except a lintel,
ornate, preceded at times by a porch,

two flanking apsidal chapels, ambulatory
as your heart.

It usually was oven vaulted,
linked to the transept crossing.

Did I say blind arcading?

Historiated, a single nave, thick,
to compensate for missing walls.                                                                       

I want to believe our appearance
was of a solid mass, a quadrilobed plan

to balance the whole structure.

Perfection of our stone bonding.