The Empty Temple


February 2015


Square neat tower,

we’re led to you, told of your stories,

your change of purpose,

your facelift to live again.

Hopefully, your windows point to heaven.

Far off, a chainsaw sings of daily work unseen.

Creaking and groaning in the cold wind,

the tall slim trees all round now screen the folly,

replace the old long parkland-view,

working for new owners.

No longer to impress from a distance,

now you’re to be stumbled upon

by modern woodland wanderers

seeking enchantment.

We try to feel your past lives, use what we can find

to make the people real; see them, hear them, smell them:

the pleasant hot stink of the drover’s cows,

the polite clinking of ladies taking tea,

the raucous banter of the gentle-folk’s hunting party.

The happy boasting of the man who birthed you

to prove his worth by your fashionable being;

a transient desire made solid.

But the ghosts seem missing here, along with the ivy,

a ruin stripped of time’s damage, and life.

Ground around you scraped back to dark earth,

your inside floored with gravel, walls patched up

too clean, too new, the woodland tidied.

Stairs that,for safety, lead nowhere.

Your future hangs on a guessed-at history,

rebuilt from scraps of hunted down documents,

seeking a new identity in a different world.

I’ll come back once you’ve had a chance

to cover yourself, protect your modesty, decide what you are

–maybe the spirit will too.

Katy Ewing


The Temple: Diary

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