Lock-Down Poetry: On the Fifth Sunday of Lock Down by Andy Delmage

A Contribution to our poetry series on the Sarum College Blog, by Andy Delmage

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One of the features of Lock Down has been Churches quickly and creatively working out how to keep worshipping together.

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At St Bede’s we have gathered on Sunday mornings with people using a mixture of Zoom and phones and developed a simple and participative liturgy in which we listen to Scripture, reflect on it together, pray, and share the Peace.  The poem reflects on this, and on how we have been saved at this time by one another’s faces.

Like the narrator in Euros Bowen’s poem Reredos, my eyes are drawn to my window, and on that morning to the dead bird pinned in the winter rose bush.

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On the Fifth Sunday of Lock Down

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On the Fifth Sunday of Lock Down
we gather remotely by Zoom and phone
a gallery of faces and voices shining
from those little spaces on the screen.

Carefully we take this story,
as if our lives depend on it,
sharing, breaking, devouring it,
gathering the pieces as if in our hands.

Glancing through the window to the garden
I see a thrush in the rosebush
dead, its wings spread out,
pinioned among the thorns.

Later I go out to cut it down
and find it is an old body,
feathers and bone,
dropped or blown into the tree.

Andy Delmege

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Andy Delmege is Vicar of St Bede’s, Brandwood in Birmingham and is Executive Director of the National Estate Churches Network (https://estatechurches.org/).   He will shortly be moving to Birmingham Cathedral as Canon Missioner where he is looking forward to a continuing exploration of urban mission.  He is working on a sequence of poems about a pilgrimage around Wales.

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