Greenbelt 10 – (heaven might be a racecourse full of people)

I’d love to take the credit for this poem but I can’t. My only credit is knowing the utterly brilliant Rosie Miles. Fans of Greenbelt Festival, read and enjoy.

If heaven (2)

If heaven might happen

it would look like a racecourse

full of people not horses.

Everyone would have a place to pitch their tent

and there would be lots of mud and weather.

We would all be the same as before

except our bladder functions would have dried up.

There would be a place

on the top floor of heaven

to be very quiet.

There would also be skateboarding,

bands playing underground where the average age is fourteen,

a smörgåsbord of stalls to get food.

The programme of What Is On In Heaven

would be very full.

There would be a soundtrack of eternal drumming.

The Big Drummer would slow the rhythm

so everyone could get the beat.

You would be able to sit in one corner of heaven

and watch the amazing wide sky.

In another you could listen to a man

speak clearly of how he fought for human rights

when he was alive.  You could hear

a politician, a priest, a poet, a shy stuttering actor,

a Dominican monk, a cultural commentator.

You could wonder what would have happened

— what might still happen —

if Jesus had come as a girl.

You could learn to jive or tango

(step, two, three, four).

You could do none of these things.

You could sit on the steps of heaven’s grandstand

and play monster Connect 4 with the friends

who helped you pitch your tent,

watching all the people wearing wellingtons

imprinted with smarties or jelly beans.

Ten-foot transvestite angels would waft past

blowing bubbles of ambient music.

Strangers would smile at you

and people would have brought their dogs.

There would be a Big Top and jugglers on monocycles

and all the people on the doors of heaven’s venues

checking that you were wearing heaven’s wristband

would be unfailingly cheerful.

You would marvel at their ability

to herd an impossible number of people

into a finite space.

Blessed are they who signal to others the end of the queue.

In heaven they shall be the salt of the earth.

And you would belong there – really belong there –

because heaven would not be about

keeping your doubt out

or your many questions.

In fact, if heaven might happen there will be

no certainty at all

just a community of the wounded

who are as lost as you are

eating churros dipped in chocolate

trying to sing

the intelligence of the heart.


Rosie Miles


Comments: 3

  1. lilwatchergirl says:

    Blimmin’ ‘eck, Jo. That verily made me cry. Does Rosie Miles have blog/website? Thanks so very much for sharing that!

  2. Ha Lilwatchergirl! No, Rosie hasn’t got a blog, or I would have linked to it, of course. But as it happens, I have been trying to encourage her to make a website for herself. I hope she can be persuaded. I shall make sure she sees your comment 😉

  3. emt training says:

    nice post. thanks.

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