While I am away at Mepkin Abbey, I'm leaving some poems inspired by my time there: one per day. And in case criminals read this blog post, don't think about breaking into my house; you'll meet my spouse, and it will not end well.
Back to poems!
Tomorrow it will be time to reenter the world, to wear the less comfortable clothes of the workplace. Long ago, I wrote this poem which reflects on the differences between the life of monks, particularly in the area of clothing, and the life of women in the weekly world. I originally titled it "Monk's Habits," but I think I like "Monastic Habits" better.
To put on a robe that would forgive
her for a heavy meal, so unlike
her tailored suits. A robe made of rough
material, no need of special laundering.
Goodbye to astronomical dry cleaning bills.
No worrying about matching accessories.
Always a drab color, day after day.
That robe could buy her anonymity,
invisibility in the world,
no eyes disrobing her, no leers.
That robe declaring her off limits.
And housework, those boring tasks, always renewing
themselves, would confer spiritual
discipline, instead of complaints about her ineptitude.
Even silence, that vow which mystified
her teenage self, more so even than chastity,
now calls to her. She sees herself enshrouded in silence,
no carping, complaining, or criticizing.
She sees herself surrounded by like-minded companions,
rising early in common pursuit, breathing
air perfumed by incense and rising bread dough,
as prayers rise to the heavens.
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