Empty churches

Mary, the mother church,
eking out milk to last the week;
Monday morning, spent, she rests
convalescent, quiet

A void of another kind,
Shakespeare’s tomb hastily built into Babel;
who sees the stranger seeking sanctuary
from its old iron face?

St Teilo’s silence echoes another place
where love was consecrated,
death given its due;
the air shivers, ghost-breath cold.

And at last the sea, an empty horizon never failing
its salt-water promise of salvation.

The sanctuary ring on the door of Holy Trinity, Stratford-upon-Avon. Dating from the 1200s, one who touched the ring could claim 37 days' sanctuary from the church which now holds Shakespeare's tomb.

The sanctuary ring on the door of Holy Trinity, Stratford-upon-Avon. Dating from the 1200s, one who touched the ring could claim 37 days’ sanctuary from the church which now holds Shakespeare’s tomb.

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing (Upper Room Books, 2020). She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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