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February 1, 2015

Durham Cathedral Sanctuary Knocker

On 18th July 2014 I posted about my trip to Durham Cathedral whose famous sanctuary knocker used to allow people to seek sanctuary in the cathedral for a period of 37 days.

This was the start of an exploration into different types of sanctuary and the publication of a series of poems around the theme.

The poem below, entitled ‘Sanctuary’ was written following that visit.

The Watchers may have gone

but there is still one

who looks through the sockets

of the dragon’s death mask,

tarnished by the elements

and the passage of time.


I cross the threshold

into a twilight world

where muted voices echo

off sandstone pillars;

babels of fears,

hopes and dreams.


Senses amplified by the toll

of the sanctuary bell,

I wander vaulted corridors

frequented by souls

as unburnished

as the brass door knocker.


Alone in the cloister,

laid out by Norman ancestors

as an open square

on the site of the old

White Church,

I find peace and respite.


This poem marks a return to the beginning of the project and the end of the second phase.

Phase 3 begins on 22nd February 2015 when I embark on a 37 day trip in search of sanctuary in the ‘Land of the Long White Cloud.’


From → Poetry

  1. JEANNIE BISHOP permalink

    Does this mean what I think you mean by long white cloud?? how wonderful! x Jeannie

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