In a deep stone recess where spare chairs are stacked there is a cadaver. You glimpse it only when, sated with gothic opulence, you return up the cathedral steps.
The sculptor's art has petrified the bones and sinews beneath the rotting flesh. Originally it had also petrified the figure – a medieval prelate – intact in its grand regalia: life and death lying side by side. Now only death remains in all its horrifying humility.
And the glory of the cathedral darkens a little with this reminder that the most awesome earthly forms – whether bishop, beast or building – are skeletons in disguise.
This week's 100 Word Challenge at Julia's Place immediately - and probably irrelevantly - conjured a long-ago visit I made to Lichfield Cathedral. The prompt (intended to prompt pieces on horses, yes, I know!) was this picture: