The monk’s journey/2

The monk’s journey/2 by Liz Trew

Follow the road twisting east through the desert
to the chain of hills running parallel to the coast,
pass the lone tree, café and filling station
a neighbouring monastery on your left,
enter our gate on the right

we receive all who come to our doors,
give food to all travellers

we praise those who came long before us
the flight of the holy family into wilderness,
the plight of desert fathers in desolation
who crossed stony ground fleeing persecution,
streams of pilgrims who sought refuge
in our desert mother,
founder saints on our site in a beehive of cells

we eat little to quell hostile passions
our oasis fed by clear underground pools
grow lemons, herbs, olives, dates,
pomegranate trees

we come as one to chant throughout nights
fast throughout days,
swing burning incense,
the fragrance of Christ between drums and bells

we elders remain on our slope
halfway to heaven in the state of God’s grace
each in his cell working as one

my cell is my furnace my pillow of cloud,
hermitage of my soul.

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