Resurrection at Dent


In rain-swept Dent, the day of resurrection
won’t look like Stanley Spencer’s sunny Cookham.
No bright Thames Valley light will shine on heaving graves.
There’ll be nothing in the setting to suggest
a nice reviving cup of tea

and maybe a regatta on the river
once everything’s been straightened out
and the tombstones put back neatly.
No sense of a brass band standing by
to play Jerusalem, or the Old Hundredth.

In Dent, it will be sombre and reserved.
The weather will be Pennine, with a mist
descending on the churchyard, its memorials
shrouded as the farming dead arise.
Sheep will move through everything like ghosts.

Pouring rain will put the damper on
triumphal choruses of hallelujah
or uplifting recitals of the Beatitudes.
The most you might expect to hear will be
a muttering of shorter psalms.

At a given signal, the whole band, mud on their feet,
will file down to the flatlands by the river
and, crossing the local Jordan in good order,
toil up the steep flanks of the dale to heaven,
hailing kin in dialect, or Norse.

– David Morphet 2015