Veronica Beedham

Church Going, March 2020
after Larkin

Now when the brick-red
doors are shut and Shannon
no longer sits outside
in her sky-blue sleeping bag
asking for change,

I wonder if by chance
one evening like this
I found myself
inside the emptiness
of nave and chancel

― no vespers or plainsong,
dust in the sacristy,
the only sound
wind on the roof tiles
or rain on high windows ―

whether I would recognise
the silence
that falls steadily
through the air
like sunlight through glass

as anything more or less
than what it is,
touched with an odour
of beeswax and incense;
something familiar

and ordinary,
like the old anxieties
of guilt and love.

Veronica Beedham grew up in Yorkshire, but has spent most of her life in the south of England
where for many years she taught English and European literature in schools and Sixth Form Colleges.
Although she wrote poems as a child and adolescent, she only took up writing seriously in 2005 after
an Arvon course in Scotland with Carol Ann Duffy. She won the Troubadour Prize in 2011 and the
Overton Prize in 2016. Her first pamphlet, A Sense of Place, was published in 2017.