In the Refectory of the Blessed Fresh mint and lily-of-the-valley bells Swished out of cool, clear water, as from wells Unfailing, herbs and flowers for the blessed That filled the hall: old monks and nuns all dressed in grey, keen-eyed and radiant, and they sat rapt in joyful banter on this day Of their reunion. Weary from the quest, And anxious I was not a welcome guest, Voiceless and fearing I could not be seen, I hoped the old brown friar would let me glean Whatever stems remained. He was the one Whose heavy steps I followed, he alone Carried the pail and drew the herbs and flowers In bunches from the water. After hours, It seemed, at last, he turned to me and drew, From the same water, plants of startling hue: Deep purple columbines and plum-tree leaves, Silent and gazing down he gave me these. Flowers of the eagle’s talon and the dove, My bridal flowers and my living trove.
Lubna Haddad Walford is a stay-at-home mother and former Latin literature teacher. Her work has appeared in The Catholic Poetry Room. She resides in Southern California.