A couple of weeks ago, I was on a course in Salisbury and went to choral evensong at the cathedral (which is one of my favourite cathedrals).

Salisbury Cathedral

One evening, the girls’ choir sang as an anthem Dorothy Parker’s poem, Prayer For A New Mother, set to music by Richard Shephard.  I found it very moving.

I thought I might use it in church this Sunday, but I don’t think it’s going to fit into an already over-crowded liturgy.  However, I want to share it, so I’ll share it with you . . .


The things she knew, let her forget again –

The voices in the sky, the fear, the cold,

The gaping shepherds, and the queer old men

Piling their clumsy gifts of foreign gold.


Let her have laughter with her little one;

Teach her the endless, tuneless songs to sing,

Grant her the right to whisper to her son

The foolish names one dare not call a king.


Keep from her dreams the rumble of a crowd,

The smell of rough-cut wood, the trail of red,

The thick and chilly whiteness of the shroud

That wraps the strange new body of the dead.


Ah, let her go, kind Lord, where mothers go

And boast his pretty words and ways, and plan

The proud and happy years that they shall know

Together, when her son is grown a man.



And here’s a link to it being sung (although not by a choir in Salisbury Cathedral).

2 thoughts on “Candlemas

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