Your favourite church poems

Next week  at a service at Westminster Abbey to mark our 60th anniversary, to be held on  Thursday 28 November, actress Geraldine James will read a poem about churches specially written for the occasions by Dr Rowan Williams.

We will make the poem, titled  ‘Please Close This Door Quietly’  available on the day of the service.  But in the meantime, we’d like to hear from you about your favourite church poems.

Many poets and writers  have been inspired by the architecture and spirituality of church buildings and church yards, and we below  include some favourites by Larkin, Betjeman, Thomas Gray and Simon Armitage.

You can share your favourites by commenting on this blog post, by letting us know on twitter @natchurchtrust or by email to

Philip Larkin – Church Going

Once I am sure there’s nothing going on
I step inside, letting the door thud shut.
Another church: matting, seats, and stone,
And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut
For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff
Up at the holy end; the small neat organ;
And a tense, musty, unignorable silence,
Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off
My cycle-clips in awkward reverence.

John Betjeman  poem, ‘Save the Village Church’  dedicated to  St Katherine’s, Chiselhampton, an unspoiled and unaltered Georgian chapel built in 1762.  Read poem 

Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard,  by Thomas Gray  Read poem

Harmonium by Simon Armitage  Read poem

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