HANGING FROM THE RAFTERS                                                                

An Irish band was over to open the Festival;

first visit for us to St Alban’s church – not sure

why we’d always passed by, so much missed:

vast arched ceiling, simple, revealing

rafters high enough to remind us all that

men once worked there, close to the heavens,

to set them, make them fast, to bear the

sombre-slated roofs and steeple, moving

closer, slowly, to their god, if that’s not

too much presumption. But I’d have prayed.


Heavy doors slammed shut, the clunk of metal

echoing all round, we were together with the band;

no sound save for the dying vibrato of the latch,

mixed with the tuning of strings and

the wake-up stretches of an old accordion.

They knew each other more than well: clear

chiming bells rung in the sunshine of those keys

promising a sound that would be offered,

just the once, there, that night, in that place of worship

that blessed the aural feast and called it holy.


Two guitars broke the bread and shared it with

a hungry crowd while violins poured out wine

and mixed it with the blood of those who drank;

then the accordion’s gentle bellows blew

lightened bodies up to the vaulted view where they

hovered and shivered, waiting. And when the voice

joined and flew up like an arrow we opened our chests

and, arms outstretched, received it deep inside; and,

with an eye on a wooden cross just behind the band, we

hung from the rafters, thieves in attendance.




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Peter Taylor

Wed 24th Jul 2019 18:10

Dear Afishamongmany,
So nice to meet you on WOL and I really appreciate your comment. Thank you.

Dear Ray,
I dedicate this one to you even though I've never heard you play (to be rectified).

Dear Martin
I am far from religious but "proper" churches and cathedrals always manage to entice me in – it doesn't need a band, not even an Irish one, but it was a helluva thick layer of icing on the cake.

Thanks to all others who Commented and/or Liked.

Peter T

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Martin Elder

Sun 21st Jul 2019 18:48

There are some magnificent lines here Peter. too many to single out. This feels like a wonderfully described slice of church life. The description of the instruments and the parts they play within the poem and what's going on the church are fabulous

Nice one

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Sat 20th Jul 2019 20:33

What can I say Peter. Rather challenging amidst the apparent worship of sound and sight. The last line is a revelation in itself going off at an angle and leaving us wanting more. If this is not gentle irony I am the grim reaper at the collecting plate. I love the whole idea of the accordion being allowed in.


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Sat 20th Jul 2019 12:33

Some poem Peter T. - I don't know what they were playing but I was certainly hearing it.
Go well

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