Tanka: The Last Trump

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Photo by Szabolcs Tóth on Pexels.com

Is it irony
or maybe co-incidence
Signs say otherwise
The Last Trump ready to blow
Romulus screams from the grave

copyright Francis Barker 2019

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Prague Churches, Some of the Best I’ve Seen Anywhere

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These pictures are just a selection of some I took on a recent trip to Prague. Nothing could have prepared me for the sheer quality of the churches throughout the city. I can’t remember the names, I was simply blown away by the visual and spiritual feast.

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Poem: The Empty Naves

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The voice and song remind me
of why I don’t come.
The words and the platitudes wash over me,
echo and reverberate around this sacred space,
crying for heaven
though never finding any home.
The bats are nearer but unaware
of their advantage,
leaving me staring high into this perpendicular sky.
Is this all that is left?
Listening to Betjeman and Vaughan Williams
to stir us up,
to remind us of what once was.
This is me and you coming here,
cultural appreciators
though never spiritual partakers
in a creed we can’t believe.
Give me the fire and brimstone,
a faith which disturbs me
into knowing I’m not already saved.
It is better than this – looking up in awe
into a world that is lost.

words and photographs copyright Francis Barker 2019

England’s Heritage in Photos: Crowland Abbey, Lincolnshire – Medieval Survival, Vandalised by Oliver Cromwell

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Crowland Abbey was dissolved in the 1530s during the Reformation, part of Henry VIII’s restructuring of the England church. However, unlike many monasteries at that time, significant parts of the buildings did remain.

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However, during the English Civil War of the 1640s, the rebellious forces of Oliver Cromwell finally took the what remained of the abbey in a siege against the Royalists in 1643. It was at this time that the structure appears to have sustained much more serious damage, as some of the remaining architecture testifies.

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copyright words and pictures Francis Barker 2019

England’s Heritage in Photos: Corby Glen Church, Lincolnshire – Medieval Wall Paintings

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Lincolnshire in the east of England has some wonderful, often underrated medieval churches.

One such is in the south west of the county, in the lovely village of Corby Glen. Here on many of the walls of the church you can see paintings and illustrations of religious and spiritual imagery, representing stories from the Bible and the faith and beliefs in general of the later medieval period.

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If you look carefully, you can make out several layers of art, where older ones have been superseded with new work.

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During the Reformation in the 1500s, all of this art was whitewashed over, part of the process of removing all imagery, which also meant stripping out idols and even rood screens which separated the nave from the chancel.

It was only in more recent times that this treasure trove of art was rediscovered through church restoration.

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Today this art represents some of the most important medieval imagery not only in the county of Lincolnshire, but also in the whole of England.

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Devil in the detail.

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Explanation of the imagery inside the church.

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The beautiful setting of the church of Saint John the Evangelist, Corby Glen, Lincolnshire.

copyright words and pictures Francis Barker 2019

A November ‘Brexit’ Election? Astrology Musings

*Reader beware – due to the combustible political climate, symbolised astrologically by up and coming Saturn Pluto conjunction in Capricorn etc., circumstances are likely to change at a moment’s notice.
In the often bizarre British and European world of Brexit, which somewhat mirrors political circumstances elsewhere, things have now reached new levels of incredulity. New British PM, Boris Johnson, recently installed as premier to finally deliver on the referendum result of some 39 months ago, is already floundering under the weight of the political impasse.

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England’s Heritage: Peterborough Cathedral Part 1

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The west gate of Peterborough Cathedral.

Put simply, Peterborough Cathedral is one England’s best churches, though it is often not as well regarded as some others, like Lincoln, Ely and York.

This might be due in part to Lincoln’s prominent setting, Ely’s architectural distinctiveness and York’s admitted supreme grandeur.

Peterborough, by comparison, lies on the edge of the flat fens, yet in one of the primary areas of England for monastic development because of the remoteness of location. In its day, Peterborough Abbey was one of the most prominent in the whole of eastern England.

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The wonderful west front of Peterborough Cathedral, completed in the 13th century.

Originally the abbey church of Saint Peter’s Abbey, Peterborough, in the east of England, the present church was granted cathedral status (and thereby preserved) by Henry VIII, self appointed head of the Church of England, during the Reformation in the 1530s, which saw many former monastic buildings taken down and sold off. For this at least we should be grateful to England’s most notorious monarch.

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words and photographs copyright Francis Barker 2019