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A White Church

The road rises and falls on its way to a white church in a field of green.

It is an old church with a belfry and no bell, and the slender windows reach to the sky.

There are two great doors, heavenly blue, the paint falling, and locked.

The secrets are kept.

I cannot feel the sheen of the pews, or look for peace through leaded windows,

Stand before the altar and weep for my sins and losses, or feel the imprint of The Bible black.

So I stand on the kept lawn in pale winter sunlight and watch as the light moves;

Read the dates on the stones in the churchyard and touch the lichen and wonder why, here

There are just nine graves, angled to the south where the huddled sheep are preparing for winter’s cold;

Where there are belts of pines and tall oaks and the roll of the sea and the bones of a man from Kent

4 thoughts to “A White Church”

  1. i’m booked for Christchurch this xmas for a few days, but southland too far i think (my 1st time in the south I). In London i lived at 3 consecutive houses that looked out onto a graveyard at the back (tho 2 of the houses were on same street). so i spent lots of time as a child looking out at the tombstones & went there to play – as a young adult too.

  2. yes, as Peter says. I confess a particular fondness for grave yards – i’m having to suppress that because they keep cropping up in my poems! Such a wistful thing – reading the inscriptions on a cold sunny day. Love it – esp last 3 stanzas

  3. Photo of the moment in winter sun, how sonorous is that last couplet, the ‘ringing’ between the sounds in it, ending with those ‘bones of a man from Kent’. Was just up the local cemetery this morning reading such a headstone!

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