Church, Chapel, Cathedral

Once I am sure
there’s nothing going on
I step inside, letting the door thud shut.

Parish of Trinity Church, Trinity Place, New York, NY 10006

Another church: matting, seats, and stone,
And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut
For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff
Up at the holy end; the small neat organ;
And a tense, musty, unignorable silence,

St Paul's, Deptford High Street, Deptford, Lewisham, SE8

Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off
My cycle-clips in awkward reverence,

St Mary Redcliffe, Colston Parade, Bristol, BS1

Move forward, run my hand around the font.
From where I stand, the roof looks almost new-
Cleaned or restored? Someone would know: I don’t.

St Michan's Church, Church Street, Dublin 7

Mounting the lectern, I peruse a few
Hectoring large-scale verses, and pronounce
‘Here endeth’ much more loudly than I’d meant.
The echoes snigger briefly. Back at the door
I sign the book, donate an Irish sixpence,
Reflect the place was not worth stopping for.

St Mary's Chapel, Holly Walk, Hampstead, Camden, NW3

Yet stop I did: in fact I often do,
And always end much at a loss like this,

St Paul's Church, St Paul's Road, Brentford, Middlesex, TW8

Wondering what to look for; wondering, too,
When churches fall completely out of use
What we shall turn them into, if we shall keep
A few cathedrals chronically on show,
Their parchment, plate, and pyx in locked cases,

Amber Hiscott's Lantern, Sheffield Cathedral, Church Street, Sheffield, Yorkshire, S1

And let the rest rent-free to rain and sheep.
Shall we avoid them as unlucky places?

Shrine to Matt Talbot, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Sean McDermott Street, Dublin 1

From Philip Larkin’s Church Going

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