A tale…

for The Sunday Muse.





Like so many churches around here, a dwindling congregation led it to close its doors for good several years ago.

I  grew up attending St Mary’s. Every Sunday we would walk there, bibles in hand, three generations together.

My Grandfather was a church warden and had a key to the ancient building, an ornate creation attached to a chain along with a silver cross. It hung from a hook beside his front door.

He walked the heavenly path many years ago, and somehow, the key ended up in my box of childhood treasures where it remained, untouched.

Until that was, a couple of weeks ago when my curiosity led me to venture inside the place that contributed so much to the person I became.

As the door creaked open I was startled by the sudden sound of flapping wings. A dozen or more birds fluttered hither and thither before settling on the beams that straddled the ceiling. I sensed them staring at me wondering who it was that was invading their privacy!

Unsurprisingly it was in a filthy state, grime and dust everywhere, and the pews were covered with bird droppings.

On a lectern sat a book of music. Just for a moment, I’m sure I saw our grumpy old choirmaster Mr Postletwaite standing there, his cheeks glowing red as we repeatedly sang his chosen anthem out of tune!

The book was open at a piece of music that I adore; I always have and will do until my dying day I’m sure. I ran a finger across the score, then closed my eyes. I heard it, I swear I did. The organ, the choir.

Lacrimosa dies illa, qua resurget ex favilla!

I was suddenly brought back to reality by an echoing bang. I had dropped the key and its cross to the floor; how something so small could make such a noise I know not!

I walked home and placed it back in my treasure box. Will I use it again? Probably not, but I’m glad I did that day.


Mozart composed his deeply emotional and complex choral Requiem whilst on his deathbed in 1791. The highlight of the work, Lacrimosa was unfinished when he passed away. There are various theories as to how and by whom it was completed, but it remains one of the most loved choral works to this day.


Thanks to Carrie for hosting. 

The church, Jack Rogers Photography, The others, no idea!

30 thoughts on “A tale…

  1. ladysighs Nov 6, 2022 / 12:05

    What a beautiful piece and of course I remember hearing it but know nothing of its history.
    While I have not entered a church for years, I remember and still can sing many of the hymns learned as a child. Of course I have rewritten the words to some of them to fit my blasphemous beliefs. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Keith's Ramblings Nov 7, 2022 / 14:13

      In recent years my church visits have been mainly for hatches, matches and dispatches, plus a few concerts. I do love hymns though, but it’s never occurred to me to liven up the lyrics!


    • Keith's Ramblings Nov 7, 2022 / 14:21

      Thanks, Suzette. Just a few weeks ago I stood outside his home in Salzburg.


      • Suzette Benjamin Nov 7, 2022 / 16:00

        Wonderful to travel to revisit legends and history. You are blessed 👍


  2. beth Nov 6, 2022 / 14:50

    That is beautiful and such an amazing memory tied to recent experience

    Liked by 1 person

  3. wyndolynne Nov 6, 2022 / 14:57

    This caught me up from the beginning. Really enjoy your reading of it, as well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Helen Nov 6, 2022 / 17:46

    Keith, I have loved this Mozart piece for many decades … as I sit here typing, I enjoy listening. Thank you for a wonderful Sunday Muse.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. imnobodywhoareyou Nov 6, 2022 / 18:55

    Interesting story, Keith. What happens to abandoned churches? Do the building get sold and repurposed or just crumble from neglect

    Liked by 1 person

    • Keith's Ramblings Nov 7, 2022 / 14:38

      They are mostly turned into apartments with the exterior remaining unchanged. I live next door to one which is for sale with planning permission and around the corner from me is another which was recently completed.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sherry Marr Nov 6, 2022 / 19:12

    I could feel the neglect through your description…..also enjoyed the note about Mozart. Still composing on his deathbed, how marvelous.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Truedessa Nov 6, 2022 / 21:15

    Wonderful story and sometimes, places are hard to revisit. I could hear the sound of the dropped key echoing in the silence of the room.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Keith's Ramblings Nov 7, 2022 / 14:48

      Indeed they are, there are places I have no desire to revisit. Thanks so much, Truedessa.


  8. Patricia Nov 6, 2022 / 22:07

    I wonder what stories the birds could tell about the abandoned building.


  9. messymimi's meanderings Nov 6, 2022 / 22:51

    Of all the old buildings that crumble old churches always seem to me the saddest testimony of what might have been.

    You’ve written a beautiful and sad story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Keith's Ramblings Nov 7, 2022 / 14:51

      Thanks for your kind words. I so agree with you about abandoned churches Mimi.


  10. Rob Kistner Nov 6, 2022 / 23:02

    “That tearful day when he will rise from the embers” — if our species doesn’t become more in balance with this world we live in, embers may be all that remains. A superb post, image collage and your writing Keith — bravo! ✌🏼🕊❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Keith's Ramblings Nov 7, 2022 / 14:55

      Sadly that does seem to be the way things are heading. Thanks so much for your generous words Rob, they make it all worthwhile.


  11. qbit Nov 7, 2022 / 01:34

    Can’t get enough of that Requiem… “Dies irae, dies illa”

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The Sicilian Storyteller Nov 7, 2022 / 19:00

    A profoundly moving story, every word full of poignant memories for me. I’m delighted you posted the video; I was just about to do that! Everyone should hear the beauty of Mozart at least once in their lives.


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