HOW IT WAS. | By: Terry Collett | | Category: Poem - Life Bookmark and Share


You sit in the Common Room
of the guest house
in the abbey.

The room is silent
except for the chime
of the clock
in the clock tower
every seven and a half minutes.

You look about the room
at the old battered sofas
and the odd chair here and there
and the bookcases stuffed
with Catholic books written
by abbots and priests
about prayer or God
or words of Christ.

You had read one
about the Lord’s Prayer.
Line by line. The meaning.
There’s a knock at the door.

Father Joe enters
and puts his head around
the door and smiles.

He enters the room
and closes the door
after him quietly.

He says
Father Abbot says
you can come
next September
to try your vocation
and he hugs you
and you almost drown
in the black serge
of his stained habit
and you mutter
Thank you thank God
and Oh that’s good news
and he holds you back
to get a good look at you.

Yes he says it’s the will of God.
I knew you had that something
the first time I saw you.

And you smile and feel
as if your feet are off the ground
as if you’d grown wings and could fly.

Well says Father Joe
I must be off
I have others to see
and talk to but I‘ll see you
tomorrow after mass.

And he’s gone
and the room is silent again.

You sit and feel the history
of the room embrace you.

The clock chimes the hour.

The ghosts have gone now.

The monk’s cemetery
is full of them.

You’d seen their graves
and tombstones earlier
in the day. The familiar names.

And amongst them
beneath the leaf
covered ground
Father Joe
lays silent and still now
making no sound.

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