Rievaulx Abbey

Yes, there is chanting here
behind the howl
of the occasional jet
and the child crying in the café

The cowled monks of Rievaulx
dance lightly between the stones,
making music as the rain stutters and dies

You touch them,
and they become real,
dragged forward in time
face down

Placed like a crown in this green valley,
the stones look hard
but melt at the fingertip,
memories trickling out

and we may not know
what to make of them,
these good infections
spreading, heading south

Prayers from the past
struggle against the stubborn forces of emptiness,
the black, dead, exploded skies

but still the chanting persists
as if it made a difference

knocking at heaven’s door,
waiting for the answer