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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Saint Joseph's Abbey

Spencer, Massachusetts
visited 30 March - 6 April 1992


Here, no television
to put forth candidates
for the distracted multitude,
no advertisements to entice
the urge for acquisition:
here, nothing but space,
peace, and monk-built walls.

The grass of the hill
south of the guest-cottage
accepts what weather comes
(chill rain, warm beam,
white flake, clear sky),
and does not complain.

A rabbit scampers
across the landscape of Lent.
By day, bluejays gather
on cemetery branches.
Night's alive
with the menace of owls.

Three hours before dawn,
leave the fieldstone house;
let night's chill scorch
soul and skin; walk the path
unlit but for one light
near a statue of the Virgin;
enter the cloister, fear-
fully, wonderfully dark.

The atmosphere of Spencer
is electric with angels!

Cistercians file churchward
to chant their wonted psalms:
With subtle fire, with cordial flame,
the brothers' gathered hearts
are inexhaustibly enkindled,
by grace made one.

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