Religious people are happier, study finds

I had not spent time with my faithlessness 

until I was faced with the emptiness of Brompton Oratory 

the vacancy of god between the pews

the slow unpeopled creak of confession boxes 

and a spectral nod of candle heads 

communing with the dust

I did not think of it again until the following summer

in the taxi rank outside Marylebone station

a cabbie in clotted heat between boot and bonnet 

folding out some scraps of cardboard

and a crimson cotton cloth

kneeling there in the gutter facing east 

And then this evening on the corner of our street

fifth of February with snow forecast 

a man languidly finishing some gelato 

tight silver curls dripping with sleet

his tiny spoon dipping in and out

just him and that little tub 

and me thinking if this is it      

if this is all it takes

Published by Ruth Beddow

Poet, writer and heritage professional based in London, UK.

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