Poetry of the Church Warden

I first encountered the young Trans English poet, Jay Hulme, on Twitter in his observations on serving as Churchwarden of a church that is over a thousand years old and includes a graveyard that occasionally yields ancient bones to the surface. 

Jay was raised an atheist, found faith in late 2019, joined a church during the early pandemic, and was baptized in October of 2020 as soon as pandemic restrictions were lifted in his congregation. It is a remarkable story. 

I have not yet received his newest collection of poetry, The Vanishing Song, but have his previous collection, The Backwater Sermons. I deeply appreciate his eye and descriptors of our faith, our life, our ministry–and our interactions as Christians with those outside the church. 

From The Backwater Sermons, a poem that speaks to the fragility of our ancient structures–and the joy and hope that they bring while they stand. I wonder what our Wardens would write in poetry to describe their ministry? 

Come Down

The joy destroys her, see:
trace the cracks with our fingertips;
a tale of trauma stretched across stone.

One day the bells shall ring, 
the tower shall shift too far,
shall shed this structural integrity,

this ancient ingenuity;
stones shaken apart 
by centuries of sound.

But that day is not today;
and the bells cry out into chaos,
saying: there is love here,

come listen. 

Come listen.

Come down. 

Author Jay Hulme