On an Encounter in
Wimborne Minster Church
He’s out of place; that hipster style just doesn’t fit
beside these strict white arches that stalk along the nave.
And look at how his pose displays that dapper beard,
that trim moustache - then there’s a smirk about his mouth,
as if he’s trying not to show a frisson at her glance.
She knows that he’s the sort of man she ought
to take against, although he’s got a playful charm
that somehow draws her on. He’s hard to read
and there is a lot of tasty gossip: those years abroad
and the bother he had with that poet; his problems
with cash; the rich widow he’d wed. She reckons
that he’s no more than a chancer. Still, she’s got
a fascination with the picaresque, with tall tales
of swashbuckle that lift her life out of its trudge
so it’s no surprise to find he piques her interest.
If he’d make some space, she’d sit with him and chat
but the candles are lit for evensong; boys’ voices
slide and loop between the arches. He hasn’t budged
and now it’s time for her to go. Yet as she leaves,
she glances back, half-tempted to sit down on the tomb
that bears his name: Sir Edmund Uvedale, Knight.
If you have any thoughts on this poem, Sharon Phillips
would be pleased to hear them.