The Old Church – Poem

This is one of a series of poems, written by my Grandmother, that represent a portrait of her childhood in Thomas Hardy’s Wessex, places and people she loved who are, for the most part, no longer with us. She dedicates each and every poem to her daughters, and has kindly given me permission to share them with you all, enjoy…


The Old Church

Old churches fascinated us.

Not so much the content, as it were –

We knew God was up there above

The sky, and down below, set to lure


The unwary, old Nick himself –

But in the churches round about, we

Blended with our past, the old knights

Even kings, in marbled prayer, the key


To open every mystery and myth;

Ethelred, lying there at Wimbourne

And various Salisburys and such.

But, when we were young, we did not scorn


The humbler buildings. One night at

Portesham, we left the hall where we

Were dancing, and sat in darkness

In the nearby church. we could not see


Much more than a suggestion of

Slightly less dense blackness where windows

Ought to be. We did not know what

To expect would happen, or what foes


Should lurk within the house of God;

But when the wheezing clock struck midnight

We bolted, though I never knew

The true reason for our craven flight.


Was it fear of undead spirits

At this bewitching hour? Or just then,

Did we remember that my mother

Had expected us since half-past ten?


© Dorothy Davis-Sellick 1998 onwards


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Filed under Meet The Family, Other Folks Writings That I Like, Poem Of The Week, Poetry

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