Sermon for Whitsun preached at St Michael and All Saints, Sunday 4 June 2017
Today I‘m in a poetic mood. I blame it on Whitsun. Did you do Larkin’s Whitsun Weddings at school?
That Whitsun, I was late getting away:
Not till about
One-twenty on the sunlit Saturday
Did my three-quarters-empty train pull out,
All windows down, all cushions hot, all sense
Of being in a hurry gone….
Which puts me in mind of train journeys:
Yes. I remember Adlestrop—
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June…
And Adlestrop reminds me of another fabulous name to conjour with, Ozymandias. Picture the scene. A desert. A broken statue. A notice:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.