Tuesday, December 21, 2010

With the Berryville Monks on Christmas Eve (Poem)

Geertgen tot Sint Jans, Nativity by Night 

With the Berryville Monks on Christmas Eve

I her namesake wait,
the one
in solemn darkness
broken in threads of light
borne of tiny pillars of white
held up and out and all around me,
expectant, pegging the midnight hour
to the last drop of wax
soft as my heart is, opening.

voices, theirs,
I hear before
brown robes
I see.

They, lulling
their story
unfolding from notes
composed for angels,
for shepherds, for the faith-full
sheltering in mountains
in a valley in Virginia.

Preludes for hymns
and organ voluntaries,
their Gloria, a litany of alleluias,
chants fixing my ear
to their devotions
of the solo redeemer.

They at the altar
our carols join
a first noel, a lullaby
for a child is born
among us a joy to the world
this one night.

Their Gloria
in my stillness quickened,
pulling together
who have been apart
this one night,
their silence given
my sudden, effortless song.

© 2010 Maureen E. Doallas 

This poem was inspired by L.L. Barket's "It's a Pronoun Christmas" at Seedlings in Stone.

One of the most deeply moving Christmas Eve masses I've experienced was at Holy Cross Abbey, in Berryville, Virginia, home to the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance (Trappists). 

I offer this poem for One Stop Poetry's weekly One Shot Wednesday event. Be sure to visit the site late Tuesday afternoon and evening and every Wednesday for links to the many contributors' "one shot" poems.


Glynn said...

It's like listening to a song, a hymn, a chant. Wonderful.

Kelly Sauer said...

Your last line, "my sudden, effortless song" - it stays with me...

And Berryville. Ah, I miss my Virginia! We drove through Berryville all the time when we lived there! (We were in Purcellville.)

David Rupert said...

this flows with wonder...

Louise Gallagher said...

Beauty. Light. Love.

All of these are you.

this poem is beautiful.

January said...

Lovely ending! Very nice poem.

S. Etole said...

I feel the song of the night in your words.

dustus said...

Reminds me both of a vivid holiday scene, as well as poetic inspiration when lines seem to emerge effortlessly. Many fine details that lend to the setting, story, and musical quality in reference to song. Merry Christmas.

Bubba said...

You captured a wonderful feeling here, Maureen... I can feel the warmth of grace descending upon you.

Nice One Shot!

hedgewitch said...

A lovely image of a world made whole by beauty and faith.

Brian Miller said...

nice. love the moment you end on...lost in effotless praise...delightful piece..

Claudia said...

composed for angels...wow maureen - what a lovely christmas poem

Desert Rose said...

Flowing with peace and beauty Maureen..Merry Christmas :)

Anonymous said...

A lot of wonderful images and turns of phrase throughout. This poem does sing, chant, hold reverent awe.

Anonymous said...

wonder full

Beachanny said...

So beautiful. This work took me back to my innocence and the many years of Midnight Christmas Eve High Masses. This resonated so much "their Gloria, a litany of alleluias,
chants fixing my ear
to their devotions
of the solo redeemer."
Have a wonderful Christmas Maureen. Meeting you and other poets here is top of the list of things I'm most grateful for this year.

Anonymous said...

You bought the serenity of this sumptous nativity into my living room MAureen. Thank you

Brother Ollie said...

Beauty - love the monk theme.

DeLi said...

very stylistic, the pronoun representation higlighted the theme

signed...bkm said...

What a beautiful experience this had to have been...you pen it so beautifully here Maureen, I envy the experience...one of a lifetime...thank you for sharing it...bkm

Steve Isaak said...

Good flow on this, theme-tight work.

One Stop - The Place For Poets, Writers and Artists said...

as i read this i felt the calm, quietness of a christmas mass...strangley when i read it i just had to slow down and savour the words, as if a prayer was indeed being shared...very well written..as i have said to others and would also say to you thanks for all your support of both One Shot/One Stop and myself...enjoy the festivities and have a wonderful new Year..all the best Pete

Alegria Imperial said...

I love how you sustain the tone as a prayer, Maureen! So peacful, so calming in adoration with reverence--totally in the spirit of this season. Great writing. Thanks!

Iliteratepoet said...

I really liked this, lots of flow. hanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

solid piece, Maureen. Some gold here


Anonymous said...

solid piece, Maureen. Some gold here


Laura Lynn said...

This poem has great rhythm! Solid piece!

Laura said...

For reasons I can't explain, this poem touched me deeply. Perhaps it is the season. But your gift has such a way of helping me feel what you must have felt in that moment.

* said...

Love this poem, rings in the Christmas Eve with joy, reverence.

Excellent One Shot here, and Merry Christmas!! :)