York Railway Station

And do I wish to worship under vaults,

eight hundred years of patina peppered to a crust;

or in one of twenty churches, scribbled medieval in tiny parishes

and cluttered with pews that do not now belong

or shall I pray here, in this my best and favourite cathedral

to our same Lord?


And I lift my eyes to the swing and roll:

the curve of the iron and the vanishing grids,

the lines leapt by cast aisles and barrelled long with wrought ribs,

perforate and delicate, motifs and embellishments picked out in fresh colour

gone from the gothic stone.


No altar or chancel, but a nave inside out and through,

cloistered voices heard in echo removed a hundred paces

and the throaty choke of traffic gliding past – a procession;

impermeable above, a gentle dampness in the air as it wafts north and south,

curling the wafers of my testament as I read.


No, I don’t pray, because the train has come,

and I step through light, blotted in pools across the platform

curled infinite behind me, with a snatched back glance.

No, this tent is no less a place for worship,

but function may disturb.