A WINTERY TALE
What a noise was that?
Was it the cat? Here? Why a cat?
To catch a mouse or rat
Of course. Taking its ease
On a piece of dropped cheese?
But no! A bell rang!
It’s resounding clang
Like a loud shrill bang
Echoing along vacant space
Calling all, contact to face.
A stirring, each, cell by cell
To answer the boldly blatant bell,
Unwelcome forced connection,
With the outside population?
Disturbing work, prayer or thought
Hoping for silence broken by nought,
But it’s not to be, the vow is taken
Extended beyond, silence forsaken.
Ink spilt and parchment stained
Looking like black blood rained,
Upon the half filled pristine page
A mistake by fright, not in rage.
Blade taken to erase the mark
Scraping to remove the dark
Blemish despoiling the manuscript,
Telling the story with colours to depict.
And bring to life with illumination
When complete, a Sacred creation.
But no more time or space for us to waste
Dropping all in our hurrying haste
Scurrying along the many corridors
Like the rats that plague the floors.
Hoods up and hands in sleeves
Please God it’s not the Reeves
Demanding their just dues!
Nothing more that we can do
Except, us door keepers to respond
To the Sanctuary’s sacred bond.
Harrying … just part of the rush
Like the sweep of a soft brush,
As our silent sandaled run to the door
Peering through the wicket, to pour
We find it’s our Father Confessor.
Brushing snow from his paletot
Earlier than he was expected
Panic and relief are interjected,
To hear each of our weekly confessions
Hopefully to absolve our many obsessions.
The cold creates no weak linked chain
Except within this draughty domain
As prayer and shivered chanting trip
Through white Winter’s cruel grip.
The small stove in each narrow cell
Small comfort, a reminder of Hell?
Fuelled by the younger brothers
Chopping wood through all weathers,
But, like the wood in shorter supply
As Novices are few and decide to fly
To more congenial corners of our vocation
And satisfy their own calling approbation.
Another clang! What bell was that?
This time neither a mouse, rat or cat
Since silence is ruled by the sound of bells
As Columba cajoled before the Book of Kells?
Such an intrusion upon my wish for peace,
New here, thank Heaven for my old fleece
Beneath our medieval robes and hoods.
To keep out the cold they serve good puds …
Oh! So not so bad here, maybe when snow’s gone
We’ll get outside where my passions belong.
For the time being, getting used to the regime
The manual task of keeping the place pristine.
A radical change from the laxity of education
The vague curriculum of receiving information.
Apart from keeping passages and pathways clear
(Not a bad ploy for all corridors of consciousness here.)
The snow will continue to lie on the ground I fear,
At least my piece of paper gave me an introduction
To this place of prayer and welcome introspection.
Blue sky is the Herald of warmer times to come.
So many ask for help: We’ll give healing to some,
Say prayers for others, the whole year round,
Food for the hungry as the homeless abound.
We ask that you join in, your own calling found.
Lord Bless us all, thro’ our sound in the round.
Was that someone at the wicket door?
Or maybe time for practice as a chantor?
© David Tenneson –2018