Small congregations mumble mourning hymns
and the sweet peeling bell fades.
Why listen now? The hangover cure is
9.30’s reverent swish of sliding doors,
and lights which buzz life into price tags.
Only touch now, only feel.
10 o’clock’s when dawn breaks
as tills begin to chirrup and sing like blackbirds
and branches heave under their burden of forgotten
When I was a child, shops were mostly closed on a Sunday. The Church bells would wake me up and we found lots of things to entertain us walking through the countryside, climbing trees but above all, using our imaginations to play.
This poem, though it looks like a lament for the reducing congregations in the local Church, is not; rather it is a wistful look back at times when I didn’t feel it was necessary to do my food shop on a Sunday, as I frequently do now.
I don’t know if other countries are the same but in the UK, we have a strange policy where you can go into a shop but not buy anything until a certain time – browsing time! Weird?