A Feast of Bells
‘Words’ he said ‘seem dull and cold -
the inventory of flesh, endless processions
of pain and regret.’
That afternoon we sat near the water’s edge
admiring the tower and the low river’s peace.
They say Christ walked here, scattering his blessings.
Perhaps he stood, like us, beneath the porch
running tips of fingers over ancient stone markings –
the sunken, lichenous stone of oystermen and naval surgeons
buried in the fern.
Once inside, following the curvatures
of the arches, I saw a man drawn to the east window.
Still wearing his wide-brimmed hat he broke with tradition and knelt,
camera hanging like some braised offering. Curious, I knelt too.
A vow of silence passed between us.
A prayer, it seemed, was offered to his son
and earth scattered before the altar’s head.
He spoke then, and in that moment it seemed
that a long forgotten fragment of a great picture
was no longer missing, a picture that I had carried unfaithfully
in my heart.
He went on his way this stranger
and I sought you out, told you everything that I had seen.
Locked in the hollow of hand we took nourishment
by the running river’s edge, sat awhile feasting