Tuesday, July 08, 2014

A Poem: Women's Prayer Group, Coventry

I'm posting this poem from my second poetry collection, Boudicca & Co. (Salt Publishing), in response to a conversation on Twitter today with a friend who has just visited Coventry Cathedral. 

The photo (left) was not taken at Coventry, but at Flecknoe Church, Warwickshire. I don't have any shots of my own of the glorious interior of Coventry Cathedral, so chose this to accompany my poem instead. 

This is one of those 'true' poems in that I did once belong to a prayer group that met in an upper room at the Deanery next to Coventry Cathedral. I no longer do such foolish things, but I still like the poem.

I wonder if anyone ever fixed that clock ...

Women’s Prayer Group, Coventry

The clock on the deanery mantelpiece
has stopped. Outside, a spire
is all that’s left
of our medieval cathedral, burnt out
by fire bombs in the war.
Our group (there are usually eight
or nine of us) meets
each Wednesday for prayer and supper
in an upper room. Here, we set 
such ordinary things as childcare, husbands –
our daily bread – 
against St. Paul’s teachings. How much
should we give to the church?
How much to the poor?
We struggle for words or bore each other
with pettiness. Yet each week
we pray and each week
the clock tells us the same thing: look up!
Bombs are still falling here,
their silent detonations
poised a finger’s-breadth above each head,
held off by prayer.

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