New Melleray Abbey
Hewn white stone, one on top of another,
side by side, immense,
Tailored to stand strong through wind and rain,
through heat and snow.
Surrounded by crops and rare ennui,
like a demanding orchestra at break,
the sky always a hymn, horizon to horizon,
blue dome, backlit, like the antiphony of candles.
Everything level, everything intentioned,
all chapters, of verse, of antiphony, of light.
Bless the Lord, Oh, bless the lord.
Hearth and relic, all divine things.
While reclining tigers in the shade of trees —
having licked clean the bloodied carcass,
called to rest now the young ones are fed —
slide hymnals into their worn wooden slots.
Chuck Thompson has an MA in English from the University of Massachusetts, and his published work includes Busy and Blessed: 10 Simple Steps for Parents Seeking Peace (Christian Insight Press, 2014). He’s also a secondary school chaplain and spiritual director in Chicago, Illinois.