Larkin’s poem depicts an intriguing visit to an empty village church building. There are echoes of decline – in the fabric and the emptiness. There is also a pull, a puzzling and a wondering – something rather indefinable, that has drawn the person inside.

Once I am sure there’s nothing going on

I step inside …

.. a tense, musty, unignorable silence…

Hatless, I take off

my cycle-clips in awkward reverence,…

..though I’ve no idea

what this accoutred frowsty barn is worth,

It pleases me to stand in silence here;

A serious house on serious earth it is,

in whose blent air all our compulsions meet,

are recognised, and robed as destinies.


Late autumn light in Mollington church.

Late autumn afternoon light in Mollington church.