The church is a tidy corner of my mind,
a space safe from intrusion,
for only like-minded souls may enter.
There is a code, not for dress, but for respect
and yes, the truth – true as light enters
from the south window and door,
as sure as nature rules over us
by allegory and design
I sometimes think we do suffer from being ‘in-betweenies’, that is neither northern or southern. Well, the simple answer to that is that we are East Midlanders, of course.
I certainly don’t mind being called a ‘yellowbelly’ and, in all honesty, my part of the county in the south is admittedly extremely flat.
That said, I am very fond of the north of Lincolnshire; the Wolds are gorgeous, reaching as high as 500 feet around Normanby le Wold, and the coast has some of the finest beaches you will ever see.
But perhaps one of the greatest glories of Lincolnshire as a whole, is the quality and diversity of our ecclesiastical heritage. The range of churches is stunning and the county town of Lincoln has, in my opinion, the best cathedral in the whole of England.
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,
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