UKArchive ID: 35201Cathedral of Reconciliation by prospero
Originally published on July 13, 2015 in Poetry

Written after a visit to Coventry Cathedral

I weep inside this cathedral of wailing souls;
Weep for its charred cross
Upon an altar of fallen stones;
For its little cross of iron nails - all forged anew.
I weep for its wind-wide walls,
Its soaring roof of vaulted sky,
Its footprints of fallen pillars,
Its lonely spire tower
And heat seared window glass.

The souls that gather here speak with the strength of silence.
Their language is universal,
Even though they
They once spoke only in English or German or Japanese,
And now speak Peace and Reconciliation.
This should be an easy language to learn -
Yet Bethlehem lies imprisoned behind a wall of hatred,
Baghdad burns daily,
Bombs kill children in Basra.
War has a simpler vocabulary and no grammar.

A new Northern Chapel,
Phoenix-like to these ash-scarred stones -
A Cathedral of hope -
Asserts the power of beauty
Over the waste of war.
Outside, Saint Michael flies victorious over
The desolation of death,
Unscorched stones proclaim anew the purposes of peace.

Inside the light of love,
Multicoloured, glorious,
Shines in the dark;
Its high windows,
Angled towards the centre of joy,
Proclaim the works of Man;
From the North wall
Hanging in all his splendour,
Beneficent Christ the Ant
Blesses a Ministry of Peace;
Facing him in all their glory,
Transparent saints and angels
Trumpet the right of reconciliation.

I command the people of the world
To travel here,
To open their ears to these silent souls,
Their eyes to the beauty of hope,
Their hearts to peace.

© prospero (corin on OLD UKA)
UKArchive ID: 35201
Archived comments for Cathedral of Reconciliation
MrMarmite on 13-07-2015
Cathedral of Reconciliation
Hi Corin.A wonderful piece of writing on Coventry Cathedral.As I'm a Coventrian and who lives in the city your poem makes me proud that Coventry although it got badly bombed during the war it rose from the ashes hence the Phoenix is on our badge of arms,and the new cathedral next to the ruins of the old bears testament that life still goes on. Once again many thanks in creating a fine tribute to our much loved new and old cathedrals. All the best. Kevin.

Author's Reply:
Thank you Kevin, It was a cold day that I visited your City. Having been born in the East End of London and played as a child in some of the bomb sites still there after10 years of peace I found your preserved bomb site very moving. There is a similar unrestored site, left as a war memorial. in Liverpool known locally as the bombed out church.

As Bob Dylan sang:-
"If God is on our side
He’ll stop the next war.”

Maethforsbye (See


gwirionedd on 16-07-2015
Cathedral of Reconciliation
A surprisingly spiritual poem from you, David. I thought you hated Christianity and religion in general?

What do you mean by "Christ the Ant"...?

Author's Reply:
Archie I am very spiritual in a Humanist rather than a religious sense. Chris the Ant refers to the famous tapestry by Gram Sutherland , see:-

Can see now why I refer to it as Christ the Ant.

Looking at the website again `i feel immensely moved by the images of this Cathedral - it is something to do with this:-

Seemingly with a defiance that summed up the resolute character of English citizens during the darkest days of World War Two, the decision to build the New Cathedral was made only the day after the old one was destroyed in the blitz. However, Dick Howard the Provost of St. Michael's at that time, did not have retribution in mind. His vision was that the new church would be a sign of faith in humanity and for peace in our future. The Cathedral is an inspiring work of art and transcends, I think , it’s role as an Anglican place of worship.