The Monastery

Cool, crisp morning air
Wrapped in mists from the valley below
Flickering light of candles through stained window glass.
Soft clang of cloister bell
Raises a community to prayer
Before the sun rises to chase the mists away.
Soft rustle of heavy habits
Draping cowled figures in the gloom
As they kneel in contemplation
As the morning Office intones.
Clack of rosary beads
Tinkle of communion bell
Clouds of smoke from censer, soft click of brass chain
All bow before powers greater than themselves
Each lost in a world of meditation
Within this powerhouse of prayer
Another day at ‘Mourilyn’ begins.

A lone monk stands at the head of the valley
Watching the heat send the mists rolling away
Smell of pine, of fir, of eucalypt
Snowbells blooming through the grass.
He watches, hands clasped into sleeves beneath flowing scapular
And contemplates the unseen.
He is unsure
Is he here for himself
Or for others?
Is this silent community his home?
Or is he just hiding from himself
A truth always known?
It is time to be free
To flee from this security
He will find himself
Elsewhere
Without.

Tim Alderman
(C) 2010

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