Saturday, August 7, 2010

York after Rain

In a change of pace from the workday science, I wanted to elaborate upon an experience I have been fortunate enough to have while living here in York. This city is home to Europe's second largest Gothic cathedral, but it is also home to a great, slow-moving river, the Ouse (aptly named, as it oozes so slowly it is difficult to tell which way it flows), medieval walls, Roman columns, Victorian townhomes, giant horse chestnut trees and, least of all, me. I have been to services in the Minster, and I have walked along the river at night, and there is no way to express the feeling which I get from both - but I have tried. So I submit for your critique or enjoyment the following, entitled, as you may have guessed, "York after Rain."

the curtain of rain has parted, the door is opened on a cavernous,
purple darkness

I step lightly over the threshold as streetlights flicker on,
one by one,
like candles in the Minster – birds as acolytes
and trees as deacons, clothed
in shimmery green vestments

before me, the silvered path
and the hushed breath of the river, like the silence between the “hallowed be Thy name”
and the “Thy kingdom come”

the Ouse in inky, velvet blackness, the cloth that covers the altar
before we break the bread

the softest buzz of insects intones the Prayers of the People
in dewed, fluttery wings

and there, at the front, a great chestnut tree:
wide as the Quire Aisle, the Evensong, the whole night itself,
golden branches extended in blessing,
I bow as to the High Altar as I approach

verdant, holy leaves just above me release one single
of baptismal water onto my upturned face

and with a new song in my heart, I go in peace

to love and serve the world.


  1. Oh my goodness, what beauty!

    I have been to Yorkminster and it is truly breathtaking. Your description of it, incorporating it into the natural setting of an evening stroll, is so lovely.

  2. Thanks, Steven. I've been both to the Dom in Koln (Cologne) and to the Minster in York, and they are truly astounding. But to find that same spirituality in something so mundane as a tree-lined river is an experience I was - if you will - blessed to have.


Think carefully before you post. I reserve the right to moderate any comments posted to my blog.