Saturday, August 16, 2014

Blackfriary Dig Poem 3

They All Prepare to Leave

I am almost ready now for home,
the plans are drawn, photographs taken,
every find listed. I’ll miss this place,
the air of unreality, the hard physicality
of the work, the patience, tedium, delight
and the sky’s ever-changing patterns.

I am almost ready now for home,
my last bequest is here, a silk cantor’s cope,
flowers and foliage in silver embroidery
and my tomb finished, its panels crisp
on the north side of the high altar
where the word is read, psalms chanted.

I am almost ready now for home,
the site empty, a few stray tools
still to be stowed away, some exposed walls
to be wrapped but most have been secured,
and in the trenches and the empty grave cuts,
corners of plastic sheets flap in the wind.

I am almost ready now for home,
to be wrapped in a worn-out habit
lie in peace to face the perils of the end times
listen for ever to the service, the chants,
enjoy the prayers, the remembrances,
be mystified by the long silence.

I am almost ready now for home,
but though the season’s over and it’s time
to return to college, renew acquaintances,
I am uneasy, unsettled.
My summer digging has turned up more
than scraps and relics of medieval sanctity.

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