The City of Secret Burial Grounds

Being inclined to spend time remembering things, I just made this map of my old flat in London. I lived there five years ago. How unbelievably bizarre it is to scroll around on that thing and remember street names, restaurants, transport routes to work…
In any case, the map also reminded me that my next door neighbor was a man named Aidan Andrew Dun. He was a poet; we spoke maybe two times, never in depth; and he was friends with Iain Sinclair.
Dun is the author of a long poem called Vale Royal, a kind of mytho-poetic walking tour, psychogeographically inspired by William Blake, exploring the region around King’s Cross.
I think it’s from Dun – but I don’t actually know; I just associate this with him – maybe I made it up? – that I heard a legend claiming that St. Pancras Old Church, stranded on its small hill behind the train stations next to the old London Hospital for Tropical Diseases, is actually the secret burial place of Christ.
The church, obviously, was built much later, as a means of marking the site – at the same time keeping silent its little secret.
And thus somewhere in the London soil, we’re meant to believe, is the body of Jesus Christ…
Imagine if it is there, though.
Imagine that it’s down there, talismanic, demagnetizing harddrives and affecting the moods of certain bus routes. You’re always happy whilst riding the 73 – and now you know why. Imagine that your Tube train just rattled past the body, lodged somewhere like a holy stone in London’s muddy undersurface, and a cold draft blew through the cabin. Imagine migratory birds flying east over the domes of churches three days before Christmas, then pulled north or south by some unseen point in the ground, that lost navigational burial that webs the earth with purpose.
Who knows.

6 thoughts on “The City of Secret Burial Grounds”

  1. It’s certainly a very strange part of town, with a weird forgotten air. Maybe the buried body was what drew Verlaine and Rimbaud to live just round the corner on their stay in London…

  2. I read with Aidan Andrew Dun once, at the Voice Box at the Festival Hall. It was hilarious. He came on barefoot, with a guitar and bells, and began an epic. After about three quarters of an hour, the audience started to mutiny. At the end of one terribly emotional section, he went quiet, and the Voice Box man came up onto the stage. “Thank you, Aidan” he said, with an unmistakeable tone of relief in his voice. “I’ve not” hissed Aidan, “finished yet.”

  3. Apparently the antichrist lives in London, too. Has he ever been to that church?

    There is a drainage tunnel in London. Decades of semi-neglect have left it cracked open by the roots of a tree. The tree grows in a chamber under the streets of London, in the resplendent catacomb where the still-pink corpse of Jesus lays in rest. The tree grows miraculously, bathed in the mysterious golden light of the holy spirit.

    The wounds still bleed, remaining unhealed for millenia. The blood of Christ seeps through the floor, out the crevice in the drain, and ‘contaminates’ the runoff.

    Meanwhile, some urban explorers are tracking the origin of a drain they’ve just found. It hasn’t appeared on any of the plans they’ve seen, and it was blind luck that led them to it. A tiny pocket park, where the grass grows green even in winter, a deciduous tree is evergreen, and there is no garbage. Animals which come to drink go away ten times more healthy. A small cult of homeless people live there, and protect the tiny park, while also guiding some to its healing balm.

    The urban explorers sneak past these caretakers and wind their way up the pipes. The map of their progress begins to take on recognizable forms…

  4. Yet another lovely post, enlivened still further by learning that you used to live not so far from where I do now in sunny Walthamstow. I’ll bet you used to take walks in Springfield Park? Maybe follow the canal along towards Docklands, Victoria Park and so on? In case you fancy extending your trip down memory lane a little further, you might want to check out a few photographs of such routes… The Marshes, Towards Canary Wharf and To Waltham Abbey.

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