Thursday, 19 March 2009

Kipling poem

This is quite my favourite church - at Capel-y-Ffin near Hay-on-Wye and it seemed to fit the image I had in mind for Eddi's church . . .

I've just looked this up (see comments from most recent post) and here's the poem in full:

Poetry by Rudyard Kipling - Eddi's Service

Eddi, priest of St. Wilfrid
In his chapel at Manhood End,
Ordered a midnight service
For such as cared to attend.

But the Saxons were keeping Christmas,
And the night was stormy as well.
Nobody came to service,
Though Eddi rang the bell.

"'Wicked weather for walking,"
Said Eddi of Manhood End.
"But I must go on with the service
For such as care to attend."

The altar-lamps were lighted, --
An old marsh-donkey came,
Bold as a guest invited,
And stared at the guttering flame.

The storm beat on at the windows,
The water splashed on the floor,
And a wet, yoke-weary bullock
Pushed in through the open door.

"How do I know what is greatest,
How do I know what is least?
That is My Father's business,"
Said Eddi, Wilfrid's priest.

"But -- three are gathered together --
Listen to me and attend.
I bring good news, my brethren!"
Said Eddi of Manhood End.

And he told the Ox of a Manger
And a Stall in Bethlehem,
And he spoke to the Ass of a Rider,
That rode to Jerusalem.

They steamed and dripped in the chancel,
They listened and never stirred,
While, just as though they were Bishops,
Eddi preached them The World,

Till the gale blew off on the marshes
And the windows showed the day,
And the Ox and the Ass together
Wheeled and clattered away.

And when the Saxons mocked him,
Said Eddi of Manhood End,
"I dare not shut His chapel
On such as care to attend."

Note: (A.D. 687)

Back tomorrow with the results of some research . . .


Rowan said...

I like really small churches like this one. I like the poem too, Kipling is my kind of poet, everything is rythmic and simple but his words produce a clear mind picture of the scene.

Bovey Belle said...

I must confess I grew up with de-dum-de-dum-de-dum type poetry too Rowan (you and I are much of an age I should think) - think Masefield and Kipling. I love the Georgian (Dymock) poets greatly too, and the best of Hardy.

This little church is SO beautiful and has such peace and tranquility, and the setting . . .

nancy said...

I do love Kipling - poems, novels, stories - his children's stories are a favorite. De-dum-de-dum is always fine with me. I love all kinds of poetic forms; but somehow, squeezing all the emotion and images into a strict meter seems like much more of an accomplishment than scattering everything about in prose.
I'll be rolling back and looking at all your most recent posts I've missed, and even if I don't have time to comment, just know that I've been there.
I have my little cushion cover in my new living room and am loving it.

Morning's Minion said...

What a picture that poem evokes. You can smell the wet animals steaming, hear the wind and wait for the daylight. Is there a bit of gentle mockery--that only the animals knew it was the place to be?