One aim of The Light Ships is to draw attention to the artistic work of people connected with the Fenland churches. Yesterday, I was able to include two photographs by Michael Strutt, who is a bellringer at Gosberton. Today, I’m delighted to share this poem by Valerie Venables, a writer and member of Moulton Methodist Church. Valerie took part in a wonderful morning’s conversation I had last week with residents of the village, generously hosted by Mary Brice. This poem is one result; my thanks to Valerie for sharing it with us.
The ancient barques are yet alive!
Alive with the love of those whose unnumbered hands,
over ages long, have filled their holds with treasures.
The skilled hands which have hewn and sewn, carved and painted,
bedecking the old walls and timbers with flowers,
hauling the ropes that sound the bells, ringing out joy,
and the one which solemnly tolls for departed souls.
Shoals of silvery words swim in pools of sunlight,
streaming through coloured glass, some caught and thought upon,
others dart away, lost to the day.
The music comes, the sound waves lapping
against the shores of consciousness, starting gently,
then billowing strongly, a storm of chords and notes.
The massed voices raised in praise, now and as always,
soar up into the roof space; an upturned ship shape.
Our country churches, the arks of preservation,
sail on through the ages, navigating changes,
yet remain constant still, to the ever profound.
Faith unfathomable, deep depths of mystery,
The lightships float on an endless sea.