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Grey Abbey, N. Ireland


A fine rain bathes the feet of

Mary marbled in devotion.

Roses on her collar beg

for sleep. One stone after another,

the abbey closes her eyes.


Flowers nod

on emerald carpets of

grass where vacant doors

once let secrets in.


On solid walls of devotion,

elderly script declares

the rank of the wealthy.


Windows gape

at parades of

passing generations.


A leafy corset crushes

the ribs that guard

the abbey’s heart.


The altar no longer shepherds

lambs under the sanctuary’s ruined

loft. Stars reel in place

of embroidered histories.


Stubborn wall

rocks the grounds

in a long embrace.


A headstone leans

like a weary soul on its homeward trudge.

Here lies the silken gown, the woolen vest,

consecrated disarray in a pagan meadow.


A silver ray strikes old wounds

on stone –

a small name for a small soul

asleep in his dusty cradle.


Below deep layers of faith,

below grief,

coins lost in the ground

await charity.

— t. l. cummings

First published by Red River Review Literary Journal

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