York in Poetry: The Minster Fire

Posted on 24 November 2012 | Poem

Funny, how we missed it – that night
cycling home from the pub, so late
that on the quiet roads a barn owl flew with us,
and the night was soft like silk, tossed lightly
over woods and fields till the next long day.

And warm, the summer lightning flittering noiselessly
on all the hills around, miles distant,
and never a thunderbolt, never the heavens split
by the surgical strike we did not see,
could not remember, waking to the gutted transept,
firemen, the world’s press, the finger of god.

- John Gilham