24 February 2012

The Reverend Perkins

A stir of doubt comes halfway through the psalm,
What if it’s all… and then my reading falters,
I shake and tremble, cold with sweaty palms
And look around the church, the nave and altar,
The prayer books, the faces bright or bored,
Old Mrs Higgins snoring in her pew,
The Taylors looking pious. Thank the Lord
The rural congregation is too few
To notice that my preaching’s insincere.
I ought to quit. I envy bolder men
Who change their lives while I just fret and fear;
What if it’s much too late to start again?
I’ll pray, I'll pray, I hope He understands,
For faith to guide me gently by the hand.


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