St Peter's

You know I'll take you there

Just like a prayer

To St Peter’s


Not the one in the Vatican City

With its pillars and marble and frescoes and domes

But the one near Dumbarton

With its concrete and rubble and weeds and stones


I’ll take you there

To Gillespie, Kid & Coia’s rotting brutalist gem

Like the Barbican in ruins

Like Sean Edwards’ Maelfa


Like the Colosseum

Not the one in Rome

With its lions and gladiators

and its majesty and tribunes 

But the one in Watford

With its stand-up comics and one-night stands 

and its singers and tributes


'Move Closer' sang Phyllis

Are you not entertained? 


St Peter’s Seminary

The archetypal architectural Marmite


Redundant already at its inauguration

St Peter’s Seminary

Like Concorde on its first flight

Like Father Peter’s semen at his investiture

Redundant already


Accessible, but only just

Behind Cardross golf course

Take the path off the Carman Road

And clamber over the fence behind the fourth hole

Follow the path and through the gate

And there it is




Fenced in

Yet open


Like Chernobyl


Its bulging light-wells like mini reactors


Like Chernobyl





With its roaming boars and bears


With its mythical lingering smells of stale cabbage 

and smoke 

and vodka

Cigarettes and alcohol

'Is it my imagination?' sang Liam

Or have I finally found something worth living for


But there’s no lingering smells here in Cardross 

The dampness rising from the Kilmahew burn floats in the air


Is it my imagination?

Or can I hear a game of ping pong

And through the still, through the calm

Can I hear a psalm? 


Just like a prayer


Its empty halls and stairs

Its library and its refectory

Its humanising wood long gone

Rotted or stolen or removed for safety


As it dies

Its muted greys and browns fade

It is reborn with eruptions of vibrant colours

Wildflowers pervade

Graffiti invades

Death and resurrection

'I am the resurrection' sang Ian


Just like a prayer

I'll take you there

St. Peter's