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Back to my Roots? The legacy of Brooke Foss Westcott

Back to my Roots? The legacy of Brooke Foss Westcott

I finished reading Isabel Hardman on turned to thoroughly researched life of Westcott. There were many resonances and connections. As the son of a miner the title was arresting. Ordained in Durham after theological studies at Westcott House Cambridge there were further connections. I have a copy of his commentaries on Hebrews and St Johns Gospel and am in awe of this great mans scholarship, though his style of prose makes its demand on the reader !   Graham Patricks attention to detail in this  carefully researched portrait did not disappoint.

Of course we live in a different age and as a new year beckons us the Church of England faces particular challenges and opportunities. It is always wrong to idealise the past but equally reprehensible not to learn from is and especially those whose lives have been grounded, faithful and prophetic.

In Westcott we are struck in this biography by his scholarship. His prodigious devotion ( with Hort) on their edition of the Greek New Testament took years of care and devotion. Westcott show us what reverence of Scripture looks like and how these words have the power to transform. Much is made in our day of our distracted busy lives but there is something here about attention, reflection and the wisdom that comes from listening to the tradition. Theology isn’t a luxury but a necessity for love and growth in the Way.

In Westcott this study was grounded and contextualised in a deep sense of community. From the incarnation he derived a belief in universal human connectivity. He cared about the poor and disposed within an urban Birmingham and Durham.In 1892, he helped miners to a strike settlement.

Westcott House Jesus Lane Cambridge

Westcott House, the durable theological college at Cambridge that issued from his efforts to nature an educated clergy. It stands in a tradition of open, generous orthodoxy of forming men and women for ministry within a broad and liberal tradition. Unconcerned about his own comfort Westcott ( we are told ) treated people as human beings. He was a pastoral Bishop who bothered very much about people and their lives.


An enriching read with plenty of connections and challenges. An encouragement to see the value of theology, to relate faith into the context of peoples lives and above all to nurture the value of a pastoral heart.

Brooke Foss Westcott

We need each other

We need each other


The truth is that we shall only understand the balance of severity and confidence, of the strenuous and the relaxed, in the context of the common life.

Every believer must have an urgent concern for the relation of the neighbour to Christ, a desire and willingness to be the means by which Christ’s relation with the neighbour becomes actual and transforming. But that urgent concern arises from the sense in myself of the cost and grief involved in separation from life in God, the self- awareness of frailties and failures that I cannot overcome for and by myself. I have, by God’s grace, learned as a member of the Christian community what is the nature of God’s mercy, which does not leave me to overcome my sin by my own effort; so I have something to say to the fellow-sufferer who does not know where to look for hope.

And what I have to say depends utterly on my willingness not to let go of that awareness of myself that reminds me where I start each day – not as a finished saint but as a needy person still struggling to grow.

A prayer of Lancelot Andrewes

A prayer of Lancelot Andrewes

8, The tomb of Bishop Lancelot Andrewes, who helped translate the Authorised Version of the Bible[1]


A prayer of Lancelot Andrewes



Guard Thou my soul,

Strengthen my body,

elevate my senses,

direct my course,

order my habits,

shape my character,

bless my actions,

fulfil my prayers,

inspire holy thoughts,

pardon the past,

correct the present,

prevent the future ……



The Windows

The Windows



The Windows




Lord, how can man preach thy eternall word?

He is a brittle crazie glasse:

Yet in thy temple thou dost him afford

This glorious and transcendent place,

To be a window, through thy grace.



But when thou dost anneal in glasse thy storie,

Making thy life to shine within

The holy Preachers; then the light and glorie

More rev’rend grows, and more doth win:

Which else shows watrish, bleak, and thin.



Doctrine and life, colours and light, in one

When they combine and mingle, bring

A strong regard and aw: but speech alone

Doth vanish like a flaring thing,

And in the eare, not conscience ring.






Easter eve

Easter eve


Glorious Collect for Easter Eve


Grant, O Lord, that as we are baptized into the death of thy blessed Son our Saviour Jesus Christ,

so by continual mortifying our corrupt affections we may be buried with him;

and that through the grave, and gate of death, we may pass to our joyful resurrection ;

for his merits, who died, and was buried, and rose again for us,

thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.


Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday


When Death Comes

When death comes

like the hungry bear in autumn;

when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse


to buy me, and snap the purse shut;

when death comes

like the measle-pox;


when death comes

like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,


I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:

what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?


And therefore I look upon everything

as a brotherhood and sisterhood,

and I look upon time as no more than an idea

and I consider eternity as another possibility,


and I think of each life as a flower, as common

as a field daisy, and as singular,


and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,

tending, as all music does, toward silence,


and each body a lion of courage, and something

precious to the earth.


When it’s over, I want to say: all my life

I was a bride married to amazement.

I was the bridegroom taking the world into my arms.


When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder

if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,

or full of argument.


I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.


Mary Oliver





‘Silence’, said Seraphim, ‘is the cross on which man must crucify his ego’;

‘Silence transfigures a man into an angel; it is the spiritual practice which most surely preserves inner peace.’

He was constantly repeating the words of St Ambrose, ‘I have seen many who were saved by silence but none who were saved by chatter.


Vacation Suprises (3) Richard Herbert

Vacation Suprises (3) Richard Herbert

A bright day took the car South and West towards Montgomery and the glad open door of St Nicholas Parish Church built in the early 13th century.

DSC09944 You can see the effect of the blazing sun on this Welsh Shropshire border town!

The most conspicuous object in the south transept is the splendid Elizabethan canopied tomb  of Richard Herbert of Montgomery Castle who died in 1596. He was father of a family which included two very famous sons, Edward I Lord Herbert of Cherbury  and George Herbert the Anglican poet and divine.


Well preserved and under the canopy lively effigies of Richard  and Magdalena.  He is in his armour and she in a richly embroidered dress. Behind them other kneeling figures of eight of the children and underneath is shrouded corpse  – a reminder of our destiny.


It was good to be connected for a short moment with George Herbert and to give thanks for  his glorious , insightful and beautiful poetry .

Vacation Surprises : (1) Craigie Aitchison in Glass

Vacation Surprises : (1) Craigie Aitchison in Glass


I travelled up to London during my summer holiday to attend a wonderful celebration of marriage of Robin and Sezgi Amos at St Mary the Bolton’s in Chelsea. It was a sunny day and I managed to arrive at the church early to catch up with friends. As I wandered around the church building I looked through one of the windows on the north side of the church to discover this shot of colour  which really intrigued me  !

DSC09546  I thought that I recognised the distinctive images of a Craigie Aitchison and indeed I was not disappointed. I am familiar with his work and a great admirer of the simplicity and depth of colour in his paintings and wondered to myself as I moved inside of the church how successful his work might be executed in the glass. Here are some of my pictures:


St Marys shares this information about the window:

‘The window, Crucifixion 2008: A Memorial Window, was created by the stained glass artist, Neil Phillips,  following a design Craigie set out for stained glass. Craigie had been planning a collaboration to produce a window for the church at the time of his death in 2009 and the finished piece is a fitting testament to his huge achievements as an artist.  Among those who gathered for the dedication were the Deputy Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea, Councillor Elizabeth Rutherford, and the President of the Royal Academy, Christopher Le Brun.The window was to have been Craigie’s first stained glass window in a London church, the city where he had lived and worked for almost the whole of his adult life.  The project was initiated through Craigie’s friend and champion, Edwina Sassoon, who is a parishioner at St Mary The Boltons. Though Craigie sadly died during the discussions, the executor of his estate gave permission for the design to be adapted by Neil Philips after Craigie’s death, in recognition of his enthusiasm about creating an artwork for St. Mary’s. The window now stands in his memory for visitors to enjoy.’

This work, and incorporates familiar motifs such as his customary star, the Italian Cypress tree inspired by his second home in Montecastelli, and his beloved Bedlington Terrier.

The tree and dog act as Christ’s comforters in his final agony on the Cross.

A wonderful discovery –




Love …………..

Love …………..

through a glass darkly[1]

in a glass darkly

Though I spake with the tongues of men and angels and yet had no love, I were even as sounding brass: or as tinkling cymbal.

And though I could prophesy and understood all secrets and all knowledge: yea if I had all faith so that I could move mountains out of their places and yet had no love, I were nothing.

And though I bestowed all my goods to feed the poor, and though I gave my body, even that I burned, and yet had no love, it profiteth me nothing.

Love suffereth long, and is courteous. Love envieth not. Love doth not frowardly, swelleth not, dealeth not dishonestly, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh not evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity; but rejoiceth in the truth, suffereth all things, believeth all things, endureth all things.

Though that prophesying fail, other tongues shall cease, or knowledge vanish away, yet love falleth never away. For our knowledge is unperfect and our prophesying is unperfect; but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is unperfect shall be done away.

When I was a child I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I imagined as a child. But as soon as I was a man I put away childishness. Now we see in a glass, even in a dark speaking: but then shall we see face to face. Now I know unperfectly: but then shall I know even as I am known.

Now abideth faith, hope, and love, even these three: but the chief of these is love.

St Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians, ch. 13, in the translation of Thomas Tyndale, with spelling and punctuation lightly modernised.

thy fearful symmetry

thy fearful symmetry



angel tiger

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry  ?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

from William Blake, The tiger

English Cathedrals : Portsmouth

English Cathedrals : Portsmouth

The Cathedral Church of St Thomas of Canterbury, commonly known as Portsmouth Cathedral, is the cathedral of the Diocese of Portsmouth, England and is located in the heart of Old Portsmouth.



Around the year 1180, Jean de Gisors, a wealthy Norman merchant and Lord of the Manor of Titchfield, gave land in his new town of Portsmouth to the Augustinian canons of Southwick Priory so that they could build a chapel “to the Glorious Honour of the Martyr Thomas of Canterbury, one time Archbishop, on (my) land which is called Sudewede, the island of Portsea”.

It was given so that they could build a chapel dedicated to the honour of St Thomas of Canterbury, who was assassinated and martyred ten years earlier. This chapel was to become, in turn, a parish church in the 14th century and then a cathedral in the 20th century.


The medieval building, dedicated in 1188, was cruciform in shape, with a central tower, which was used as a lookout point and lighthouse, over the crossing. Of the original building, only the chancel and the transepts remain. The church survived a French raid in 1337 which had laid waste most of Portsmouth during the Hundred Years War. However in 1449, the Bishop of Chichester was murdered by local sailors. The town’s inhabitants were excommunicated and the church was closed. In 1591, Elizabeth I worshipped in St Thomas’s Church. During the English Civil War, when the Parliamentary forces attacked the town in 1642, the Royalist garrison used the church tower to observe the movement of enemy forces. Parliamentary gunners positioned in Gosport fired on the tower and inflicted damage to the church. This resulted in the ruin of the medieval tower and nave. With the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 came the authorisation by Charles II for a collection in churches across the country to raise the £9,000 required to rebuild the tower and nave, which took place from 1683 to 1693. The nave was built in the classical style. Galleries were added in 1708 to cater for growing congregations, and were extended in 1750. The wooden cupola with a lantern for shipping was added to the top of the tower in 1703. A ring of eight bells was given at the same time. Two additional bells were cast in 1957 and currently the central tower contains a total of 12 bells. All of the bells were cast at Taylor’s Bell Foundry and are hung in the wooden octagonal part of the tower. Various repairs and alterations were made during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In 1902, the church was closed for two years so that much-needed work on the foundations could be carried out. During this period, St Mary’s Colewort, a chapel of ease, served as the temporary parish church.


The establishment of the Diocese of Portsmouth, which had split from the Diocese of Winchester in 1927 brought about significant changes. On 1 May of that year, the parish church of St Thomas of Canterbury became the pro-cathedral of the new diocese, becoming the second cathedral in Portsmouth, as the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St John the Evangelist had already opened in 1882. At a chapter meeting in October 1932, a first sketch plan for an extension to the church was submitted by Sir Charles Nicholson. He was called upon to extend the church to a size that would dignify its cathedral status; by 1935 the ‘provisional’ nature of its title had been dropped.

The nave, looking south-westwards

The style that Nicholson chose is that of a round-arched ‘Byzantine’ style that echoed the ‘classical’ style of the late seventeenth century quire. By 1939 the outer quire aisles, the tower, the transepts and three bays of the nave had been completed. The base of the seventeenth century tower had been opened up to form the tower arch. However, with the Fall of France in June 1940 during World War II, work on the extension scheme stopped and the bays of the nave were blocked off with a ‘temporary’ brick wall. This wall remained there for over fifty years. During the Second World War, the Cathedral suffered minor damage to the windows and the roof. Sir Charles Nicholson died in 1949 and attempts headed by Field Marshal Montgomery to finish the structure in the 1960s proved unsuccessful due to substantive failure to find sufficient funds. However, as the building had been used for many years without its extension, it was quite usable and there was no urgency to finish the work.


By the mid 1980s, however, the “temporary” brick wall was found to have become unstable and in danger of collapse, which made the completion work pressing. The task of the architects was to find a solution to the problem of finishing Nicholson’s truncated nave: the nave was originally intended to be longer, in the traditional style of an English cathedral, but the changing needs of the diocese meant that the building was finally built with a foreshortened nave, the final west wall being located close to where the temporary structure had been. Efforts were started to raise the £3 million necessary to carry out the plans. Work began in January 1990 and eventually a fourth bay of the nave, western towers, tower rooms, rose window, gallery, ambulatory, together with the stone altar beneath Nicholson’s tester and the new stone font were added. In November 1991, the completed building, much smaller than the original plans envisaged, was consecrated in the presence of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.



The formal entrance into the Cathedral is through the bronze west doors, designed by Professor Bryan Kneale. The design is based on the tree of life, an ancient symbol representing the renewal of life. The completed nave is a square space that is enclosed by an outer ambulatory. The ambulatory is low and vaulted. Because the furniture in the nave is not fixed, it can be used for various means, including concerts and exhibitions as well as services. On the rood screen, beneath the Nave Organ case is a sculpture called Christus, by Peter Eugene Ball. The Nave Organ case was designed by Didier Grassin in 2001; the inside of the panels were designed by Patrick Caulfield. The left side depicts night, with a stylised lighthouse shining on the sea (which alludes to the City of Portsmouth’s motto, “Heaven’s Light Our Guide”). The right door depicts day, showing the sun and the hull of a fishing boat. The tower is pierced to provide an organ loft raised on a low dark passage. The font (1991), made to a Greek design of the ninth century, is placed centrally between the nave and the quire. In the south tower transept is the bronze status of St John the Baptist by David Wynne. It was cast in 1951 as a memorial to a Winchester College pupil killed on the Matterhorn.


Photographs taken by James Woodward march 2014

Gifts and Graces

Gifts and Graces


I have come to admire the way different individuals function in their profes­sional roles. Yet finally I represent the role my way, in my person, in terms of my gifts and my graces.  These “gifts and graces,” as the Methodists put it, are not better or worse. They simply are different. Dif­ferent gifts, different graces; one role, many approaches.

When I forget the obvious reality of different gifts and different graces, three images in the New Testament bring me back to the reality of God. Two are from the Book of Revelation. One is that there are twelve gates into the heavenly city (21:21). Twelve is a symbolic number reflecting the twelve tribes of Israel. But the spiritual point is made—each gate differs in relation to the outside yet each gate brings us into the wholeness of the community of God. Dif­ferent gates suggest different gifts, yet there is only one reality, one God.

The other image of the holy city, the new Jerusalem, is a metaphor of the many-splendored reality of our humanity. There is “no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God … And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light. … Its gates will never be shut by day— and there will be no night there” (Rev. 21:22-25). Because God is all-in-all, there are no special places and no special roles that are more privileged than oth- ers in bearing the presence of God. Every place and every role can be a conveyor of transformation and new life.

The third image that keeps me aware that my way is not the only way, my  approach not the only approach, is found in John’s Gospel: “In [God’s] house there are many rooms” (John 14:2 Niv). I take that to mean “room” for every­one and “room” forme, “room” for others and “room” for ourselves. The house  is God’s, yet the rooms are ours. None of us can live in the whole house, even if we try. Rather, we each are to live in the room that is ours. It is our room, our place, graced with our gifts and cluttered with our “junk.”

Martin Luther expressed this radical particularity in theological terms: No one can live for us, no one can die for us, no one can believe for us, no one can be baptized for us. These most personal acts are ours alone. They bear the ev­idence of our presence as expressions of our very being. Each of us represents— bears—the image and symbol of God in his or her own way. This does not mean we are left to our own devices. Nor does it mean that we cannot learn from each other. Pastoral counselingis never completely idiosyncratic, individualistic, and isolated. Rather, the genuineness of who we are as individuals always affects the authority with which we represent the presence of God.

The sacred

The sacred


The sacred is the interference of the uncreated in the cre­ated, of the eternal in time, of the infinite in space, of the supraformal in forms; it is the mysterious introduction into one realm of existence of a presence which in reality contains and transcends that realm and could cause it to burst asunder in a sort of divine explosion.

The sacred is the incommensurable, the transcendent, hidden within a fragile form belonging to this world; it has its own precise rules, its terrible aspects and its merciful action; moreover, any violation of the sacred, even in art, has incalculable repercussions.

Intrinsically the sacred is inviolable, and so much so that any attempted violation recoils on the head of the violator.

Frithjof Schuon

Ministry: Seeing and Serving

Ministry: Seeing and Serving



Ministry is about a way of seeing and a way of serving.

That is to say, it is a way of giving attention to God and his creation, to yourself and to others, in order to learn to love them; and it is a lifelong commitment to that kind of service of others who formal name is ‘pastoral care’ but which is more simply defined as affirming love.  And those of you who are launched today as deacons will go into situations where people are deeply hungry for God yet may be almost totally unaware of the Christian story or else may reject what seems to them outdated metaphysical nonsense.

So what have we to offer?  You have what you share with every other living soul:  our humanity.

And to be human is to be aware of what Shakespeare calls the ‘mystery of things’.

When the writer Philip Toynbee was dying of cancer he asked the priest on whose ministry he came to depend why he became a priest.  ‘He told me he had tried several things first – engineering and psychiatric nursing – but this was the first pool he had stepped into in which he couldn’t feel the bottom.’  ‘That’, he writes, ‘was a wonderful answer.’


What makes for Good Church?

What makes for Good Church?




Perhaps ‘good’ Church has a few essential things in common?

1. They share a deeply incarnational view of the world, the recognition that matter is the scaffolding of spirit, the two deeply entwined; each Church knows that the commonplace, when seen with the eye of the heart, is holy, and that the
ordinary is far more extraordinary than we think.

2. Each might recognise the complex nature of truth, dislike  anything that smacked of exclusiveness, and value  words like ‘inclusive’, ‘speculative’ and ‘non-judgemental’.

3. Each is  open to thoughtful enquiry and to a wide range of opinion, aware that truth is often to be found lurking in both extremes. Aware, too, that in every church community there will be some who are so hurt or so puzzled by life that their faith is tenuous and shaky.

4.Each is deeply human and vulnerable, for each had suffered and knew what it is like to walk in those dark shadow-Iands, and people were drawn to them because they sensed they understood and spoke the same language.
5. Each strives to be  an encourager and an affirmer.

6.  Each valued silence and daily set aside time for God. Each sought the Kingdom beyond the narrow confines of the church.

7. And each centred  life on that taking, and giving thanks for, breaking and sharing of bread.

The Priest

The Priest


The priest picks his way

Through the parish. Eyes watch him

From windows, from the farms;

Hearts wanting him to come near.

The flesh rejects him.


Women, pouring from the black kettle,

Stir up the whirling tea-grounds

Of their thoughts; offer him a dark

Filling in their smiling sandwich.


Priests have a long way to go.

The people wait for them to come

To them over the broken glass

Of their vows, making them pay

With their sweat’s coinage for their correction.


He goes up a green lane

Through growing birches; lambs cushion

His vision. He comes slowly down

In the dark, feeling the cross warp

In his hands; hanging on it his thought’s icicles.


‘Crippled soul’ do you say? looking at him

From the mind’s height; ‘limping through life

On his prayers. There are other people

In the world, sitting at table

Contented, though the broken body

And the shed blood are not on the menu.’


‘Let it be so,’ I say. ‘Amen and amen.’

RS Thomas

Surrender of Self?

Surrender of Self?



In his  book The Triumph of the Therapeutic, Philip Rieff captured a major cultural theme of the last five decades of the twenti­eth century.

Therapy’s triumph in an age of radical individualism has enriched our lives in numerous ways. Almost every facet of our lives has been touched, and in many cases, reshaped by the therapeutic mindset. Thanks to psychology’s therapeutic focus we understand


In the therapeutic world of psychology, what is good for the per­sonality and soul of an individual becomes an entitlement one is free to pursue directly and with all the energy one can muster. In fact, one is not only free to pursue it, one has a responsibility to pursue it, and so we see countless people declare that they will settle for nothing less than the good life: a life of happiness, relative ease, and the joy of in­timacy and love. And the pursuit of these goods is direct and focused.

From the perspective of social science, that is, from a rational point of view, there is a certain logic here. If something is good and noble, beneficial and even essential, one would be foolish not to set out on a holy quest to obtain it. It seems that our therapeutic culture has not yet discovered the paradox of the Gospel: some things are achieved only when they are surrendered.

Happiness follows the forgetting of one’s de­sire to be happy and living in such a way as to foster the happiness of oth­ers. Holiness follows the desire to live in harmony with God’s will in selfless praise and thanksgiving. It is best pursued indirectly. Intimacy follows when one trusts that it will come once it is not directly pursued. For like so many of life’s true blessings, intimacy is primarily gift. One prepares oneself through prayer and right living—and one waits.

There are, of course, skills that can be acquired to facilitate relationships and even the attainment of intimacy and union, but they are at best tillers of the soil. Intimacy, like all things that really matter, is a gift of the spirit that cannot be fully earned or merited by one’s sin­gular efforts.

The Reverend Jeremy Sampson

The Reverend Jeremy Sampson


(from The Church Times Obits)


On 11 July, the Revd Jeremy John Egerton Sampson: Vicar of North Perak, Malaya (1951-52); Priest-in-Charge of Johore Bahru (1952-57); Vicar of St John the Divine, Ipoh (1957-62); Killingworth (1962-76); Consett (1976-90); Rural Dean of Lanchester (1980-85); aged 89.


It was with a mixture of sadness and gratitude that I learnt about Jeremy’s death this week. Jeremy was my first Vicar or training incumbent when I was ordained to a title in the Durham Diocese in 1985. A wise and very modest man Jeremy and his wife Rosemary were a solid team – dependable, un-stuffy, straightforward and steady. He was thoughtful and grounded in the Anglican tradition with forty years of parish experience both here and abroad.

He taught me the bedrock value of the daily office and care over every Baptism, Marriage and Funeral. He was practical and avoided the extremes of Anglican piety – he had a way of smiling at some of the irrelevance of much of modern Church life. His Parish Councils meetings were slow but collaborative – he took care to ensure that all voices were heard. He had an eye for detail and showed his curates how to run a parish with a minimum of fuss or anxiety!

He took a lead when the Steel works closed down and ensured that the Churches voice was heard in the efforts to build up and reconstruct community after the closure and its devastating effects on families. He was a bridge builder bringing all kinds of people together. The parish admired and respected him – he became well know as he waked the dog and made his visits across the community. Folks found in him a trusted pastor.

He was patient with this young curate and I was glad he made considerable efforts to  come to my installation in Windsor in 2009 – he had himself been a curate to the young Robin Woods who was himself to become the Dean of Windsor in the 1960’s. The best advice he ever gave me was this : ‘make sure that every sermon has good news’!

A kind and good man and a faithful servant of the Church. My life has been all the better for my working with and learning from his example.

Clergy work in St Georges House

Clergy work in St Georges House

2013 Clergy Photo

A Church in Bavaria


Everything bends

                 to re-enact

             the poem lived,

                             lived, not written,

the poem spoken

              by Christ, who never

         wrote a word,


        of received ideas

who rebuilt Rome

             with the words he

          never wrote;

           whether sacred,

          whether human,

                            himself a sunrise

         of love enlarged,

                  of love, enlarged

William Plomer