While listening to a poetry reading at Wainsgate Chapel

In this landscape I live in, there are many old chapels. Some are again being used as places of gathering, for music and poetry and other creative arts. This is an attempt to capture a bit of the experience of listening to Carola Luther and Amanda Dalton read from ‘On the Way of Jerusalem Farm’ and ‘Notes on Water’. There were interesting resonances, I felt, between their poetry and the poetry that lives in the building itself…

The exit sign, white arrow on green
on crumbling plaster, points up to the coving
where walls meet ceiling. In the window

a head, half-veiled in plastic, wears coins
on his eyes. Old paint curls off the wall,
reveals patterns beneath. Cobwebs

vibrate with the voices of women
whose poems home ghosts: A dream
of struggling to swim in a building

that’s broken. Memories of birds
from a future without them,
of faraway pasts on the way to Jerusalem

Farm. A story of floods, of surviving
a death. In the interval, cake. A cup of tea
makes it onto the balcony, catches glimpses

of sun through the windows. Outside, clouds /
like ruminants ā€“ no ā€“ / like neighbours. I take
the path through the graveyard, take note

of leaves about to unfold, like poems-in-waiting.

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