AN OLD CHURCH AT CULLYBACKEY
This humble kirk behind the ridge
Shows unabashed behind the bridge;
Embowered, old and grey it lies,
But hallowed with green memories.
What moved the fathers – did they know
That thoughts grow best where flowers grow,
To such a gentle thought, to raise
Beside the pleasant stream a place
Of meeting for the poor, to wait
With patience for the lingering mate,
To pray and rest in peace serene?
Such tenderness befits the scene
A rural refuge and retreat
For souls that seek the mercy seat.
Close to the soft, low-wooded slopes
Grow yews with immemorial hopes
With other plants of verdant green,
Clustered like subjects round a queen,
While rippling round the churchyard banks
You hear the echoing river’s thanks,
As winding, winding, in and out,
Like sunny, placid, quiet thought,
The River Maine flows ever on
To join the sea’s communion.
A living Presence there gives breath
As might make one in love with death
There songs of Scottish Psalmody
Express religious sympathy,
And there the human heart allows
Convictions deep, and earnest vows.
There many prayerful hours were spent
In tranquil years, ‘tis evident.
The stillness of the Lord’s own day
Wraps us in spirit, bids up pray
In holy reverence, and abide
With gladness by the riverside
Or catch the tone the whispering wind
Brings solemnly to awe the mind,
Like bush that flames and is not burned
God’s love abides until it’s spurned;
So haunts intense humanity
And broods above, divinity.
J. Townsley 28th December 1920