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Some Days I’m Visited by a Church of Rain


The building wanders around the sky

then falls on top of me. Clouds are its ceiling,


droplets the choir. Inside, stones achieve

the ardent shades of stained glass.


Jagged pines melt and glitter. The broken air

remembers and I listen in the steam and hiss


of psalms for voices I have lost. I dream of striding

down the pavements’ dazzling aisles for years.


Then I meet the clean smell left behind, recall

how only through forgetting can the church arrive,


and I come back to my small garden,

its chalky earth young, forgiven.



© John McCullough

Picture 10809637, unattributed engraving, 1906,  image copyright Mary Evans



John McCullough lives in Brighton and Hove. His first collection of poems, The Frost Fairs, won the Polari First Book Prize in 2012 and was a Book of the Year for The Independent as well as a summer read in The Observer. His second, Spacecraft (Penned in the Margins, 2016), was named one of The Guardian‘s Best Books for Summer and was shortlisted for the Ledbury-Forte prize. His new collection, Reckless Paper Birds, explores vulnerability and the human body. It has been shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award.