Some Days I’m Visited by a Church of Rain

The building wanders around the sky
then falls on top of me. Clouds are its ceiling,

droplets the choir. Inside, stones
achieve the ardent shades of stained glass.

Jagged pines melt and glitter. The broken air
remembers and I listen in the steam and hiss

of psalms for voices I have lost. I dream of striding
down the pavements’ dazzling aisles for years.

Then I meet the clean smell left behind, recall
how only through forgetting can the church arrive,

and I come back to my small garden,
its chalky earth young, forgiven.

by John McCullough

Acclaimed poet and teacher Tamar Yoseloff will be visiting Oxford to lead a ‪poetry writing workshop entitled ‘The Space of the Poem’ on Saturday 22 October. Inspired by the exhibition by Pan Gongkai running at Brookes’ Glass Tank, we will look at examples of Chinese painting, concrete poetry and text-based sculpture as a way of generating new poems – participants will be encouraged to share their first drafts during the session. You can read more about the workshop on the Brookes website, where you can also book your place (please note that those places are limited and there are only a few left!). There is a reduced price for Brookes students and staff.

‘Some Days I’m Visited by a Church of Rain’ is copyright © John McCullough, 2016. It is reprinted from Spacecraft (Penned in the Margins, 2016) by permission of Penned in the Margins.

Notes from Penned in the Margins:

Spacecraft navigates the white space of the page and the distance between people. Margins, edges and coastlines abound in John McCullough’s tender, humorous explorations of contemporary life and love. Encompassing everything from lichen to lava lamps, and from the etymology of words to Brighton’s gay scene, Spacecraft is a humane and spellbinding collection from the winner of the 2012 Polari First Book Prize. You can read more about the collection and hear John McCullough discuss the book and read from it on the Penned in the Margins website.

John McCullough’s first collection of poems, The Frost Fairs, won the Polari First Book Prize in 2012. It was a Book of the Year for The Independent and The Poetry School, and a summer read for The Observer. He teaches creative writing at the Open University and New Writing South, and lives in Hove, East Sussex. You can find out more about his work on his website, and follow him on Twitter.

Penned in the Margins creates publications and performances for people who are not afraid to take risks. The company believes in the power of language to challenge how we think, test new ideas and explore alternative stories. It operates across the arts, collaborating with writers, artists and creative partners using new platforms and technologies. Read more about its work on its website. You can also follow Penned in the Margins on Twitter and on Facebook.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.