In the Refectory of the Blessed – a poem by Lubna Haddad Walford

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. 

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