Saturday, 1 June 2013

St Luke’s Church

I like visiting churches and looking at their history. This poem is about the ambivalence I felt exploring St Luke's Church, one of the more modern churches in Jersey. It is Victorian, only about 150 years old, after all, while the Parish Churches are at least over 1,000 years old, so 150 years is but a "thing of yesteryear". And it is locked up most of the time, which I gather is the pattern in England as well. I visited St Luke's twice recently, just after the service so I could wander around, and I noticed a number of tourists around the nearby park also waiting for just such an opportunity. Not everyone likes the formality of a church service, but apart from that time, or just afterwards, it is barred and locked up.

St Luke's Church
From sunshine outside, to mist within
Incense rising, casting a sepia tint
We come, not to pray, nor confess sin
But to look inside, to take quick squint
Normally it is locked up, but today is Sunday
And for services it is open, before lock and key
Keep out the casual passerby who wants to pray
To much threat of robbery, now chained not free
Victorian splendour, and sometimes very grand
Candles, statues, fine stained glass, church plate
Even if some of the carvings are pastiche and bland
And the bells ring out, and I feel that it is late
I light a candle myself, before Holy Mary's Shrine
And wonder how this place, locked, can be a sign.

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