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Hallowed Hollow

March 18, 2017

I love poetry. When I read a powerful poem it is as though the weaving of words, is painting pictures directly into my soul. Whenever I enter a bookshop I always head straight for the poetry section. If there isn’t one then I’m almost certain to turn around and leave, even if they have the book I want. To me the poetry section is the litmus test of the quality of the bookshop. If this section is missing then I question whether it is a bookshop at all. I’m likely to consider such a place alongside supermarkets, that also sell books but are certainly not bookshops.

I look at the poetry section and move quickly past the classics. I love Kipling, Wordsworth, TS Elliot and the rest, but what I look for most are books by living poets. I see too many poetry sections that include works by no living poets, and I question the presence of creative life in the shop as a whole. To me there is a need in literature and poetry for the established greats, but without new and original work I become deeply sad. I become sad because instead of being an Aladdin’s cave of treasures, the bookshop has become a museum only; a mausoleum to a great but dead art.

Perhaps the same is true of church and faith? I wonder, is my church, my faith an Aladdin’s cave or a museum. I ponder some more and hope that they are both!

I want to conclude my meanderings with a poem from a poet who is very close to my heart, in more ways than one. It is a poem from Vivienne Tuffnell’s most recent book, Hallowed Hollow. You can find the book here: or just get in touch for a signed copy!

God 1

I do not want your slot machine god
Powered by caprice and uncertainty.
Nor do I want your vending machine god:
Pop in a prayer and out pops a reward.
I want the untamed god
Unknowable as the badgers
Deep in ancient yew woodlands,
Wild as the flight of goldfinches
Bathing exuberantly in a forest pool.
In one glimpse you see more of eternity
And the vast untouchable sweep
Of a deity too broad
To be trammelled by walls and words,
Yet tender to his creatures who
He holds cupped in his wounded palms.

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