Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
John McAuliffeBill Manhire in Conversation with John McAuliffe
(PN Review 259)
Patricia CraigVal Warner: A Reminiscence
(PN Review 259)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
Next Issue Gwyneth Lewis ‘Spiderings’ Ian Thomson ‘Fires were started: Tallinn, 1944’ Adrian May ‘Traditionalism and Tradition’ Judith Herzberg ‘Poems’ translated by Margitt Helbert Horatio Morpurgo ‘What is a Book?’
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Reader Survey
PN Review Substack

This article is taken from PN Review 37, Volume 10 Number 5, March - April 1984.

By St Paul's Parish Church, Sketty Val Warner

The evening's grey, and green and grey again.
Sweeping the grass, rain's given over to
the evening, grey and green. Daily, I skirt
the swollen spring. Tonight, bells scale the air
above the green hill's sodden emptiness
- silver torrents down muddy, bygone ways,
where blackbirds brazenly chime in.

Grey as a rock against the green, the grey,
the church hunches a kind of leaden grace
scaling the mind's eye, for some passers-by.
Bells wash over me, romantically,
closer to tears in midsummer's lush light.
They tempt with tongues of fire our mortal souls.
They tempt with tongues, promising the moon.

Hugging the grey eminence of the hills
above the bay, the church nestles beneath
the higher hills, hills risen to the sky.
Eye can't go by the shaky structure, lost
in clouds. Behind a Gothic screen of firs,
the way beyond stays quiet as ever,
apart from Sunday's queue of worshippers'

Japanese saloons, chrome fig-leafed by leaves
blowing in the wind, the rushing, mighty wind
across the wide skyscape of Swansea Bay.
Bonnets and boots get plastered in the fall.
Hell's keys are sycamore. Who sweeps a road,
as for by-laws, makes that and th' action fine.
Everyman can give tongue, too, to a piece

of her mind on our quality of life.
The church, ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image