St. Nicholas Cathedral




Coming from the south of the Tyne

Or North of Newcastle

Or coming from not knowing where

Or being lost, totally lost

St Nicholas meets your eyes

The lace tower, the aureate clock

The chime of bonny bells

Beckoning to you: it is the time.

Time to lay your burden on the ground

Time for silence

Time for pause

A present time


The threshold is dim

Like entering a womb

Entering the oath of rebirth

A place for hope, a place for the dead,

A place for hope over death

Overcoming death


And when the choir come

In red and white

Drag down the upside-down ship

And let the waves of songs

Take you to your beginnings


Once the soprano sailed me to Shiraz

Where the eternal love songs

Turn your grapes to the richest wine.

Praise the Lord with the harp

With the lyre

Dance to Rumi’s songs of love

Dance to His perfect beauty

Dance with Him in this most northern Cathedral

Altar to altar

Chapel to chapel

Dance the Resurrection of the Dead


The light through stained glass

Reflects on the wood carvings and

Sits on the memorials

The characters come to life and soon

You will be part of the Northern stories:

You are the Raven, sitting on St Oswald’s hand

S.S. Mauritania sails you to the timeless shores

And the Unknown Knight

Tells you his tales of Northumbrian battles


Come to the


Break your pen, tear your paper

He is here, no word is needed



Mandan M-Ghoyonloo is a Creative Writer PhD candidate at Newcastle University. Originally from Iran she writes in Persian and English. Her publications include a translation of Paul Auster’s novel, Leviathan, and poems in Modern Poetry in Translation. Her collection of poems in Persian Ragh Rooy e Tanab (Dancing on the Rope) was published in London.