St Swithin’s Grave | Stuart Rawlinson

Six-foot when standing—St Swithin of the Venta.
His coffin now cracked, clumsily in thirds.
A pious life’s promise, plundered through worship,
Adoration, respect and a relic’s protection;
Disinterred from the churchyard, last requests unheard.

Deep in December dark waters rise;
The quiet Bishop quickened from his forsaken rest—
Colourless and cold, the coffin takes float
Below Romanesque vaults and cold rows of pews:
His ship’s short voyage. (Strange port in a storm)

No rain god required: in rage, Swithin swore
Forty days of rain for veneration’s sin
From Saxon skies, sharp and unforgiving.
Now the English examine each and every word,
Putting ink on velum, promising peace.

In the Cathedral square, Christmas shoppers
Feel the first spots of rain.

Writer’s Commentary

A poem about the history under our feet, as people rush around with their lives, oblivious to it.

Stuart Rawlinson is a Brisbane-based writer, focused on poetry and currently writing his debut novel. Stuart’s poems have been published in various publications, such as Black Bough Poetry, Adelaide Literary Magazine and Bluepepper. He writes a literary blog at and is active in the poetry community on Twitter at @mrsturawlinson