Christine Cochrane – What the guide said

What the guide said

Frauenkirche, Dresden, 2016

The dark stones are from the original church, the guide said.  Dirty stones
salvaged, sorted, bonded to bright new ones, machine cut. Many died here;
bones crushed, homes destroyed.  Silence and smoke drifted over chaos.

We lift eyes to the dome’s bright bulk against the blue where our planes,
pregnant with bombs, once droned in black night.  The dome dominates,
too large for the church beneath, dwarfing the statue of Martin Luther.

He spoke the language of the people so that all could read the word of God
in their own tongue, the guide said. Behind us cameras click; a thousand voices
speak different languages; spoons clatter on silver metal tables of street cafes.

The church stands firm, symbol of peace and reconciliation, organ music
singing through an open door. And in this film set of buildings, this city
sanitised, reconstructed, reshaped, we try to comprehend the invisible past.

Christine Cochrane was born in Torphins, Aberdeenshire, and is a graduate of St Andrews University. After a career in language teaching, she studied Creative Writing with the Open University and won third prize in the Mslexia Women’s Short Story Competition 2014 with ‘Shifting sands’, set in South Uist and Benbecula. She writes in both English and German. The German version of ‘Shifting sands’ has been published  by Edition Narrenflug in the anthology ‘Weibsbilder’.

Christine’s short story collection ‘Shifting Sands: Tales of Transience and Transformation’ was published in November 2015. The print version is available from and the ebook is on Amazon Kindle.  Her poems have appeared in two anthologies of Cumbrian writers ‘Watershed’ and ‘Write on the Farm’ (Harestone Press)

Christine lives in Cumbria, but is regularly drawn back to her native North East Scotland and the beaches and hills of the Western Isles.