Background

Illuminating York Poetry: Minster

Posted on 17 January 2013 | Poem

Shadows heighten roof and column.

A light-show kaleidoscopes

down a five minute walk, yet seems

no more than entrance attraction.

This building holds our city’s past,


but we have come to revere

modern skills, that bring back to life

bulbous-nosed saints, and faces

we feel we know, though wearing

fifteenth century hats.


We crowd into a steel dome,

to marvel at glass panels that astound

in their perfection, their truth of line,

six hundred years young.

The restorer explains the science,


the cutting, painting, mixing colour,

that turned windows into art.

Awed, we walk the darkened nave,

past mellow wood and glints of gold.

Matchstick figures at the great door,


we leave, returning to busy streets

and traffic lights, lamplights,

headlights, stalls selling plastic toys.

A carriage of tourists rattles past.

Our breath hangs on the misted air.
- Pauline Kirk