"Church Going" is a poem written by Philip Larkin that reflects on the changing role of churches in modern society. The poem is written in the first person, with the speaker visiting a church and considering the various ways in which the building is used and perceived.
Throughout the poem, the speaker grapples with the idea of faith and religion in a secular world. He notes that the church is "graceful," with "spire" and "aisle" that suggest a sense of grandeur and beauty. However, he also observes that the church is largely empty, with only "an old woman" present. This suggests that the church is no longer a central gathering place for the community, as it once was.
The speaker also reflects on the history of the church and its place in the community. He notes that the church has "history to whisper" and "past to show us," suggesting that it holds a certain cultural and historical significance. However, he also wonders if this significance is still relevant in modern times, asking "What is it for?"
Despite his doubts and questions, the speaker ultimately decides to leave the church with a sense of respect and reverence. He notes that the church is "a serious house on serious earth," implying that it still holds a certain gravity and importance, even if it is no longer central to the lives of many people.
Overall, "Church Going" is a thought-provoking poem that grapples with the changing role of religion in modern society. It asks important questions about the significance of faith and tradition in a secular world, and ultimately leaves the reader to consider their own beliefs and relationship to religion.
6 Poems About Church, Short Poems
And that much never can be obsolete, Since someone will forever be surprising A hunger in himself to be more serious, And gravitating with it to this ground, Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in, If only that so many dead lie round. For the kingdom that Jesus founded Does triumph o'er every foe. Brooks O church of God, thou spotless bride, On Jesus' breast secure! We live so isolated, so far from hurt and pain; We stifle our own conscience time and time again. Some ruin-bibber, randy for antique, Or Christmas-addict, counting on a whiff Of gown-and-bands and organ-pipes and myrrh? God's church is alone triumphant, In holiness all complete, And all the dark powers of Satan She tramples beneath her feet. She stood attired in spotless dress The early morning through, And then into the wilderness On eagle's wings she flew; And, nourished there from heavenly clime.
What are three literary elements in the poem "Church Going" by Philip Larkin?
First published in The Less Deceived in 1955, "Church Going" remains one of Philip Larkin's best-known poems. Some go to hear a grand oration, Some go to glorify the nation. Its adjectival form describes going to church regularly, as in a churchgoing family, while its noun form describes the act of going to church. The church as building and the Church as institution bear testament to the very matter of the human condition births, deaths and marriages and lend it a sense of gravitas and purpose through community and shared experience. The speaker is not a churchgoer in the usual sense of going to Sunday services, but rather is a person who regularly visits churches when they are not in use.
Then how can you say, dear people, You can not be kept each day? I'd think we'd want assistance, involvement and concern, With no thought of repayment or favours to return. Some go there to find relief. Some go to better their condition, Some go to gain a good commission. But it was the Moderns who caught my imagination and who I imitated in my early efforts at writing verse. Time is a destructive force on the church in "Church Going", both as the building physically ages and as religion becomes more irrelevant to modern sensibilities. This church is "another" church, into which the speaker has ventured.
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. With Jesus as Leader, Defender, and Guide, The other great doctrines we will not decide; But we'll leave to each Church its own special plea, And each one shall speak it as each one shall see. Come to the church, To the little white church; A welcome receive From those who believe That Christ is the Lord As we read in His word In the little plain church in the valley. What great poems have been set in churchyards or among pews, at the altar or in the church crypt? The marriage of the Lamb is come; His bride all ready stands; The Bridegroom soon will take her home To dwell in heavenly lands. However I discovered his work, I still remember clearly my enthusiasm for him and how he became a model.
First, Larkin uses an interesting pair of words in the title to convey a double meaning. These I learned from Larkin who remains an enduring, foundational influence. Mounting the lectern, I peruse a few Hectoring large-scale verses, and pronounce "Here endeth" much more loudly than I'd meant. As is his recognizable traditional form. But some go there to lounge and sleep. I wanted to imitate and so learn how it was done, the crafting of verse, whatever the theme. What will happen to society when the superstructure falls away? Yet stop I did: in fact I often do, And always end much at a loss like this, Wondering what to look for; wondering, too, When churches fall completely out of use What we shall turn them into, if we shall keep A few cathedrals chronically on show, Their parchment, plate, and pyx in locked cases, And let the rest rent-free to rain and sheep.
His first book of poetry, The North Ship, was published in 1945 and, though not particularly strong on its own, is notable insofar as certain passages foreshadow the unique sensibility and maturity that characterizes his later work. He reads the lesson from the lectern and pronounces "Here endeth" too loudly. Religion The primary theme of the poem—clear from its title, " As the poem moves forward, the speaker speculates on the relationship between religion and superstition. Thank God for a church triumphant, All pure in this world below! Don't be a "four -wall" Christian who doesn't get involved, Who gives a meagre dollar and prays that wars are solved. For, though I've no idea What this accoutred frowsty barn is worth, It pleases me to stand in silence here; A serious house on serious earth it is, In whose blent air all our compulsions meet, Are recognised, and robed as destinies. Some go to praise, to pray and weep.
This is echoed in the only stanza which does end in a complete thought, Stanza 2, where he notes that "the place was not worth stopping for. Through Patricia Ismond, then a recent graduate of the University of the West Indies who later became a respected Walcott scholar , I became aware of Caribbean and other modern literature. Objects here are represented as finite in their quality and, as such, they possess bathos and pathos in equal measure in this spiritual context. However, in the last few stanzas, he takes a more respectful tone toward the church and, by extension, religion, noting its important function. We go to church each Sunday, like Christians ought to do, But after every service, we haven't changed our view.
There is little doubt that the everyman persona-narrator who takes us on this by turns solemn and irreverent guided tour experiences both a sense of futility and mystique in equal measure. In the modern age, the poem loses something of its force, unquestionably. No stains of sin in thee abide; Thy garments all are pure. Or will he be my representative, Bored, uninformed, knowing the ghostly silt Dispersed, yet tending to this cross of ground Through suburb scrub because it held unspilt So long and equably what since is found Only in separation - marriage, and birth, And death, and thoughts of these - for whom was built This special shell? There's many go to worship God. Omer, George Lamming, Jean Rhys, V. This "Here endeth," echoing in the empty church, emphasizes the old-fashioned language of the church and also its literal end. Whence comes this voice I hear? And some go there a fault to cover.