Oxford Sunday Morning

In this corner of Oxford it was always Sunday morning –
the silent chimneys once bustling with the kitchen smoke
of a hundred dead cooks sending their burnt offerings
swirling like incense above the respectable tall red roofs: 

and dons, newly emancipated from celibacy,
returned from Matins in carriages or by bicycle.
Divesting their academic regalia with a sigh
they greet their wives -or cooks- with nuggets of college gossip. 

Today the bells ring unanswered, the sagging crucifix
unacknowledged in the sabbath calm, and Jaguars
multiply where once were gardens, while property prices
alone reflect the dream of an England whose ghosts have fled.

As church bells were ringing
1055-1115 Sunday, 29th September 2002

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