Friday, 21 February 2014

You need hands

Christ has no body now but yours
No hands, no feet on earth but yours
Yours are the eyes through which He looks
compassion on this world 
These lines are (wrongly) attributed to St Teresa of Avila, the Spanish saint with the racy dream life. Despite being dead for over four centuries, Teresa was still making headlines earlier this year, after being asked by Spain's right-wing interior minister to help out with the country's economic crisis. Which was a bit off the wall, although not much more peculiar than the post-crisis political orthodoxy that faith in the invisible hand, aided by self-flagellating austerity, is the only true path to economic salvation.

The anecdote about General Franco keeping the old girl's mummified hand by his bed was seriously batshit, though. Inspired by the macabre image of the bloodstained ghoul alone in his bedroom with his morbid fetish object, the poet X J Kennedy reanimated the "no hands on earth" trope, imagining that the saint's hand might have been of some use, had it come back to life to throttle the bastard, Hammer Horror-style. Here are the closing lines of his Meditation in the Bedroom of General Francisco Franco. Enjoy:
What if, one dark night while he slept,
That hand had stolen from its crypt,
Shedding brown flakes, and slowly crept
Over his well-oiled closely clipped

Mustaches, over lips that hissed,
Down past each pouch of facial suet
To fasten on his throat and twist?
Teresa, you had your chance. You blew it.
Bonus fun fact. The The mendicant order inspired by St Teresa, the Discalced Carmelite Order, is known by the initials "OCD."Although the initials really stand for Ordo Carmelitarum Discalceatorum, they're appropriately suggestive of obsessive hand-washing, an activity that more or less sums up the relationship between Church and Caudillo.
Hands up everybody who wants ice cream!