Schoolchildren at Abbey Ruins

The somber silence speaks of ages past
when ancient chants and incense swirled in air.
Here monks with bread and chalice practiced mass.

Schoolchildren peek through time-warped glass
at the twelfth century, in gray habits they’re obliged to wear.
Their somber silence speaks of ages past.

These midget monks cluster in emerald velvet grass,
absorb teachings on St. Benedict and prayer.
Once monks with bread and chalice practiced mass.

Hauling backpacks, these fresh-cheeked monks contrast
with crumbling arches and pillars, leading nowhere.
The somber silence speaks of ages past.

Bread, water await the students in the undercroft. Cloth mats
checker the vast dirt floor. Soup steams in earthenware bowls.
Once monks with bread and chalice practiced mass.

Roofless, walls pray, bony fingers to the overcast
heavens, while God, behind froth-thick fog, hovers, aware.
The somber silence speaks of ages past
when monks with bread and chalice practiced mass.

~ July 11, 2001