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.

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