Friday, 28 October 2011

The Night Watch

(a draft here of something that came as a consequence of a brief stay at the guest lodge of the Cistercian monastery at Mount St Bernard's, Leicestershire, which, by the way, does not have a spire, except in Pugin's original drawings.)

Monk's Guest House

Some distant schools of stars in swarm
above a spire, and farm,
and drowsing cows. All meat and milk
in steep sunk sleep, a cud of dreams,
untroubled by the muscled tower's
electric prod, its bells' peals' starry tongue
this herd has never heard

since its first day tired. My watch face
says three and my slow animal wakes
as the bells' claw and clamber breaks
the burr and mumble
of where am I am. Legs and arms, feet
to hands assemble

like lines racing a plough. I snub
forward into night-buttoned, numb
promising air, head down
toward shell spills of crackle, side
slips of gravel and a door

homed low on a still stone hull
where a shy
bay chapel waits
us and the hushed sparse wash

of dark and morning vigil.

written 8th -10th & 13 & 16th October 2011

© David Bircumshaw

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