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.


The monk’s journey

The monk’s journey by Liz Trew

The young monk
prodigal with sweetness
sits in a plane bound for a new country

sits between traders of gold diamonds and war
in his suitcase pictures of family
and village along Paradise Road

he sips passion juice
between gods of money
bowed over calculators and laptops

in the roar of the engine
his spirit lifts with the aircraft rising
the long grass bending by the runway

he flies with his heavenly father across rainforest
the great river and desert of his continent
his spirit rising on the road to the mountain top

bound for a language of silence in the monastery

he kneels in his cell
burns sacrifice and desire
surrendering to the glory of God

climbs his inner mountain
the young monk
prodigal with sweetness