Move forward, run my hand around the front.
From where I stand, the roof looks almost new-
Cleaned, or restored? Someone would know : I don’t.
Mounting the lectern, I peruse a few
Hectoring large-scale verses, and pronounce
“Here endeth” much more loudly than I’d meant.
The echoes snigger briefly. Back at the door
I sign the book, donate an Irish sixpence,
Reflect the place was not worth stopping for.
Reference:- These erotic lines have been taken from the poem “Church Going” written by Philip Larkin in 1954 and published in 1955.
Context:- The poem ‘Church Going’ describes the curiosity and experience of the poet while visiting to the Church. The language of the poem is conversational and in the form of interrogation. It says that why people need to worship? Why they need to go to the worship places? It also explores the issue of the Church on the basis of religion. Also, the title of the poem interprets different aspects of religious matter, as the act of going to the Church, the customs that keep the Church alive, and visiting the Church etc.
Explanation:- In the given lines, the narrator commands himself to move forward; he touches something, but still appears to feel nothing. He notices that the roof is semi—new and has been restored or just cleaned? If it was just cleaned then it means that there is probably a caretaker hired to look after the Church, but if it was restored that means the people actually care about this place and it isn’t as abandoned as the narrator perceives. The clumsy narrator doesn’t care enough to know whether it was cleaned or restored, because it is no consequence to him, he doesn’t believe in God or Church. He steps up to the lectern as if he is the priest about to give a sermon. He peruses the “hectoring large-scale verse”. He ends his sermon with “here endeth”, which is the traditional way to wrap up a Bible reading in Church. Echoes are personified, echoes cannot snigger.
The echoes snigger at his mistake of saying “here endeth” too loudly and at the irony of what he says. He goes to the rear of the Church and signs the guestbook; thus, taking part in religion, he donates an Irish sixpence, which has no value in England. Donating valueless coinage to Church can be interpreted in two ways first, he donates to show his disrespect for religion or second, that donating to the Church has no value.
The rhyme of the poem is in iambic tetrameter and it’s rhyming scheme is ABABCDECE, and the theme of the poem is based on religious aspects.