A group of children, accompanied by their teachers, waits outside Saint Thomas’s church, eating biscuits and chatting. The church is due to open at 4pm, but the huge wooden doors remain locked. The RE teacher, a big man wearing a black shirt, makes a phone call, shrugs, and eventually guides his congregation away from the church, the sound of merriment receding into the dusty afternoon.
Sparrows peck for hope
at Thomas’s sandalled feet:
finding only dust,
they gather its providence
and fly heavenward.
This weekend in the perfect weather
we went to a boot sale all together
the stalls were selling standard fare
from books to jam to things to wear
We bought some clothes for a few pounds
and spent some time just wandering round
then when it got to half past three
we were tempted inside by thoughts of tea
St Anne’s in Arscott is a church
so pews are the only place to perch
As we were sitting with our cups
our twelve year old came wandering up
He looked concerned and ate a scone (pronounced sconn)
and then he ate another one
the question that he asked us next
revealed just why he seemed perplexed
Dear parents (he can be quite formal)
I’ve discovered something quite abnormal
Tell me why do grandmas make great cakes
when no-one under sixty bakes?
We scratched our heads and drank our tea
it seemed we had no answers see.
Will our dislike of messy flour
or too much supermarket power
or evolution or education
leave us soon a cakeless nation?
(answers on a prayer book)
the early spring church hall bird
stirs our stewing tea.