A.R. Teague, ‘Cathedral’
Why do we seek to know divinity
and cloister our divine in labelled walls
along with hymns of grand ubiquity
whose echoes prowl confined in airless halls?
What greater glory than the first design:
a grove that raises limbs towards the light,
a gentle rivulet that serves as shrine,
while joyous birdsong flows from day to night?
No teaching seat squats boldly on this floor,
whose aisle is just an earthy forest track:
here untold beauty lifts the soul to soar;
the eagle bears no scripture on her back.
Draw near and smile and, if you wish to, sing:
Let happy nature ever reign as king!
- - -
Published on The Ekphrastic Review, 23rd September 2021
- - -
This sonnet is inspired by a piece on the Forest of Dean’s Sculpture Trail: Cathedral by Kevin Atherton. The forest is situated in Gloucestershire, UK and is well worth a visit! I’ve enjoyed the Sculpture Trail many times since moving to the county, from Surrey, in 1986. Coincidentally, that was the year it was installed! During the past 35 years a few changes have been made, as various pieces have been removed due to deterioration and new ones have been added to the trail. But Cathedral, one of the first installations, remains in place.
Writing a poem for every sculpture on the Trail, was a project I set myself about ten years ago. I’d always been intrigued by the sculptures and I had a wonderful time researching them. My main aim for Cathedral was to foreground the images on the glass and to celebrate an unconfined and unsophisticated type of worship. And eagle-eyed readers will have spotted that the photo was taken by A.R. Teague, my younger brother. Special thanks to The Ekphrastic Review for publishing his photo with my poem!