Sunday, 6 October 2013

Open Invitation

Readers may like to know that I have just posted a new video on You Tube. It is the first of several videos (and poems) mostly shot in the old market town of St Albans in Hertfordshire. There is another (of an old clock tower) and one of a three lovely willow trees converging on each other that will follow over the next week or so. (If you subscribe to my channel, Y T will automatically send you an email whenever I post a new video.)

If the link does not work, try my You Tube channel and search under title:

Feedback suggests some of you cannot always access You Tube so you cab also watch the video here. (See below)..

For those of you who have asked about my charity walk last weekend, my friend (and Y T cameraman) Graham and I walked a half marathon (13.1 miles) through the night and early hours to raise money for prostate cancer research. Between us, we raised over £700 so are well pleased. We also managed to complete the course in 5.5 hours, not bad given that I will be 68 in December. I may do it again next year so long as hormone therapy continues to prevent my prostate cancer becoming aggressive...mind, feet, and spirit willing! 

My friend Andrew and I went to a Lowry exhibition at the Tate Britain the other day. I know a lot of people don't care much for Lowry, but I share his interest in everyday life as it IS so can easily relate to his work; stark and dour, many of his paintings may be, but he saw an inspiring beauty in the haunting ugliness that so often characterizes everyday life and urban landscape. 

Now, about the video/poem…

The Roman City of Verulamium slowly declined and fell into decay after the departure of the Roman Army in AD 410. However, its ruined buildings provided building materials to build the new monastic and market settlement of St Albans which was growing on the hill above, close to the site of Saint Alban's execution. In the Norman Abbey tower, you can still see the Roman bricks removed from Verulamium.

Much of the post-Roman development of St Albans was in memorial to Saint Alban, the earliest known British Christian martyr, executed in AD 250 (the exact date is unknown, with scholars suggesting dates of 209, 254 and 304). The town itself was known for some time by the Saxon name 'Verlamchester'. A shrine was built on the site of his death following Emperor Constantine's adoption of Christianity as the religion of the Roman Empire. In the 5th century a Benedictine monastic church was constructed.

St Alban’s cathedral (formerly St Alban’s Abbey) – officially the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban – is a Church of England cathedral church at St Albans, England.  At 84 metres ( 276 ft) its nave is the longest of any cathedral in England.  With much of its present architecture dating from Norman times, it became a cathedral in 1877 and is the second longest cathedral in the UK after Winchester. Local residents often call it ‘the abbey; although the present cathedral represents only the church of the old Benedictine abbey.

The abbey church, although legally a cathedral church, differs in certain particulars from most of the other cathedrals in England: it is also used as a parish church of which the dean is rector. He has the sane powers, responsibilities and duties as the rector of any other parish.

For more information, see: Wikipedia:

Yet again, I am indebted to my dear friend Graham Collett for the video and subsequent editing. Unfortunately, time and weather have prevented us from uploading any new material to my channel until now. We hope you will enjoy both video and poem.

Regular readers will know that I am not a religious person although I like to think I have a strong sense of spirituality albeit taken from nature rather than any religion.  An appreciation of beauty, though, is all inclusive, and this agnostic poet feels no less entitled to be as appreciative as anyone else.

As for homosexuality, transgender, and religion...there would be no need for anyone to be made to suffer any sense of guilt or inner conflict were the leaders of all world religions to but practise what they preach about peace and love to all humankind instead of being so selective about how they choose to interpret their Holy Books.


Abbey, cathedral,
what’s in a name that’s given
temporal form, created
by human hand to preserve
the spirit of peace,
love, searches for raison d’etre
among all who pass by,
regardless of colour, creed, sex
or sexuality?

Monument to history,
recalling dark and finer deeds
of humankind,
so we may remember those
who lived and died
for love and peace, celebrating
one, St Alban, here,
inspiring we ordinary people

To some, it is religion
that draws them to a holy place,
anxious to follow
in the footsteps of a Man of God
while others seek answers
to haunting questions
of daunting pillars, stained glass
windows, and altar crosses asking all
and nothing of us

God, raison d’ĂȘtre,
what’s in a name that’s given
temporal priority
in humankind’s eternal search
for origins of an identity
to which (or whom) it can relate
before ‘too late’ by this
or that reckoning of human mind,
body, and spirit?

Abbey, cathedral,
an open invitation to pilgrim,
tourist, passer-by,
each and every one of us,
to simply enjoy
its presence, inhibitions forsaken,
and (if only secretly)
hedge our bets on a safe passage
through eternity

Copyright R. N. Taber 2013


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