Friday, 29 June 2018


(Peter Sarstedt, United Artists UP 2228) 

I look up from my book
and think, I am a cathedral,
I first heard those lines in 1968
been hung up by them ever since,
there’s a poem in there
if only I can tease it out…
now I’m here in ‘All Saints’
which smells faintly of mould
and decay, in Nafferton, e yorks
for Ava Rose’s family christening
and the lines drift back…
Peter Sarstedt, a swirl of Tijuana horns
as Arthur Lee on ‘Alone Again Or’,
never a hit, mostly forgotten, yet
still I’m chewing over those lines,
at base it’s ‘my body is a temple’
but no, it’s more than that,
turn it around, I am a mosque
I’m a synagogue, and it doesn’t work,
and what’s the book he’s reading?
has he already filched the lines
as I’m now taking them back?
sunlight streams in, irradiating
stained glass metaphors
for salvation, igniting the soul,
a body riddled with light, porous,
something close to spirituality,
which even non-believers can take
and atheist poets can steal…
this is not a cathedral
just a 13th-century lost village church
built on peasant sweat and muscle
striving beyond ancient wood beams
towards heaven beyond the sky,
a drone of sermon, Ava stirs,
I look up from my book,
yes, I am a cathedral…

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