They gave us God at infant school: some illustrated stories
and a picture on the wall –
that Jesus with a lantern lifted high. He’s looking for a sheep,
they said, a sheep that went astray.
I liked the guy – that tangled hair and beard and dressing gown.
In junior school they ramped him up a bit:
a hammered piano nailing down the big, fat hymns,
the manger babe, the prince of peace,
and how he drowned the multitude but let old Noah go.
I kept him on through two bereavements in my teens
and I thought I heard him breathing deep inside
some Bach chorale beyond.
But life itself came tumbling in – a cavalcade of
And one day he wasn’t there at all.
Instead, out on the road, across the fields,
over the trees, in the sky,
everything else was.