Sunday, October 22, 2017

Halloween at Mepkin Abbey

I thought I had a Halloween themed poem that used elements from Mepkin Abbey.  This morning, I finally looked up the poem, and I was surprised that the Halloween elements weren't really there.  Let me see if I can add something.

Here's the original poem:

Autumn at the Abbey

I drove seven hundred miles from the tip
of Spanish speaking Florida to the Gullah drenched
lowcountry marsh.

I arose in the wee small hours of the morning
to drive up the spine of the state
with truckers and other insomniacs.

I saw the flaming
orange fields, the flickers
of light across the river.

I have eaten eggs from the chickens
raised by monks and been sprinkled
with holy water before bed.

I saw the baby Jesus
created from a
cornucopia of materials.

I harmonized with monks
and chanted my way through a quarter
of the Psalms.

I watched the monks at sunset
walking under Spanish moss draped
trees, ghosts from a different century.

Let me play with it.  Let me add some of my memories from my first visit, when we looked across the river and saw children trick-or-treating.  When we walked back to the Abbey, we saw monks in their white robes looking like ghosts.

All Hallows at the Abbey

I awoke very early to sing
lauds with the monks,
and then I set out for the river.

In the pre-sunrise mists that rose off the currents,
I would not have been surprised
to see a runaway slave.

In the afternoon, the fields flamed
orange and light winked
across the water.

I returned to the chapel to harmonize
with monks and chant
the Psalms that still speak to us.

As the sun sank, across the river, candles flickered
in carved pumpkins and costumed children participated
in a different ancient ritual.

As we walked to compline service, monks in white robes
walked under trees dripping with Spanish moss,
ghosts from a different century.

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