John Betjeman

The Empty Pew

Written on Penelope Betjetman’s admission to the Roman Catholic Church, 

In the perspective of Eternity
   The pain is nothing, now you go away
   Above the steaming thatch how silver-grey
Our chiming church-tower, calling 'Come to me,

My Sunday-sleeping villagers!' And she,
   Still half my life, kneels now with those who say
   'Take courage, daughter. Never cease to pray
God's grace will break him of his heresy.'

I, present with our Church of England few
   At the dear words of Consecration see
   The chalice lifted, hear the sanctus chime
And glance across to that deserted pew.
   In the Perspective of Eternity
   The pain is nothing — but, ah God, in Time.