A Little Faith in the Moment

Croydon Tourist Office

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A sultry mid-summer evening
And the clammy village is an unwarranted hug
All honeysuckle smells and foliage
Sticky pine needles and fervent deciduous shade
Cottages crowd into the main single carriage road
As if wanting to know all the gossip
 
The steep valley sides seem to funnel the heat
Ever-present mounds of arable greenery
Low sun throwing long shadows on the flanks of the grazing sheep
How on earth did I end up here
 
I'd been to the pub
But the pub was a disappointment
I'd had a warm lager
But the bare brick furnishings
And low hanging ceilings had made me feel even hotter
And I'd hit my head on a copper-bottomed pan
That had been hanging from the rafter
There was laughter
I'd never felt dafter
 
But I didn't want to go back to my rented cottage just yet
I had a desk of half-completed work waiting for me
And it was too too hot
 
Come in for a bit of a pray have we
The vicar asked.
I'd been lingering in the porch of the village church
Stone brick solid
A stunted tower
A modest graveyard of slanting headstones
I caught a glimpse of pews
 
Not really
Not a believer
To be honest
No
Me neither
 
He had a long beard
And a strange expression on his face
As if the top part of his face was profoundly disappointed
That the bottom half of his face half-grown a beard
 
Really
Come in he said
It's cooler in here
Take a pew
He laughed
His moustache was stained brown by nicotine
 
I entered the church and found a certain coolness envelope me
A flagstone floor lead to a simple alter
While the low evening sun
Threw stained glass colour across the aisle
 
How are you a vicar
If you don't believe I asked
Nobody checks on these things he replied
Don't the audience suspect anything
Congregation my son
That's what they call them in the biz
They may have their suspicions
But they've not said anything
 
He was tall and thin
And he moved like a crow
There was a pile of hymn books on a side table
The air was infused with the smells of mothballs and summer fruits
Furniture polish and the merest hint of whisky
The vicar picked up a feather duster
And fluffed it over the window-sill
 
It's not like the congregation is very large he continued
Six at the most
I do funerals mostly
There weren't any weddings at all last year
And I have christened anyone in such a long time
The font is now where the wifi transmitter is kept
I use it to go on Wikipedia
It's a font of all knowledge
 
He laughed again
A series of slow haunting huffs
Ha ha ha ha
Sorry
Just some vicar humour
 
Did you ever believe I mean
Do you have a faith and did you
Then stop
He sits on a pew and dangles the feather duster between his legs
Kind of sways it back and forth
I had a total failure of faith when I was a teenager
 
I was on a bouncy castle at the time
The sun shone through the trees
And I wanted to bounce higher
And higher and touch the air
I wanted to stroke the face of God he said
Almost triumphantly
 
But then he lowered his voice
I thought
If I were a god
I'd not want some snotty-nosed teenager touching my face
And spreading his germs
Of course God would have made the germs too
He would have loved those germs
And the air
It was all atmosphere
Pure science
We can bounce as much as we like
But the sky will always be out of reach
 
So it was nothing to do with human suffering
And unjust luck I asked
No
Bouncy castles
 
Then why did you want to become a vicar
He waved a nicotine-stained forefinger in my face
The uniform he replied
Warm in the winter
Cool in the summer
And I tell you
It's more practical than it looks
That and the chance to spend time in beautiful buildings such as this
 
He squinted at me
You've got a bruise
Have you been to the pub
Yes I said
I've been meaning to tell them about that copper-bottomed pan for years
 
The shadows begin to lengthen
And all of a sudden
A shard of sunlight illuminated the tip of the bronze cross on the alter
As if afire with a sudden majesty
Ethereal and life-affirming
 
Let's go home he said
My soaps will be on
I turned to the alter
And watched flecks of dust curl in the air
Moving on unseen currents
 
I turned back to the vicar
No trace of him
He'd gone
What on earth
It was as if a spectre had made himself apparent only by his leaving
As if common sense had mutated
Spun on a golden moment into the sublime
A supernatural hand reached out
And plucked out a miracle from the ether
And my heart began to race
 
Sorry he said
As his head popped up from between the pews
I was picking up a sweet wrapper

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Written by: Robert Garnham

Lyrics © DistroKid

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

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