At the One-Time Monastery

NaPoWriMo DAY TWO 2 April 2020

At The One-time Monastery 

She sits on a stone bench 

by the guard house, crocheting,

sweet, white-haired grandma Rose

in her pearl-blue, hand-knitted cardigan,

looks up, regales you

with her toothless, all-forgiving smile.

Peacocks sun themselves by the entrance

of the ancient one-time monastery,

perched on the first rung

of wide, slightly concave stone steps,

worn by harsh winters 

and in the Middle Ages  

the sandaled feet of Carthusian monks 

crossing the threshold on their way 

to vespres in the church.

Arm-long icicles reach down

from above in winter 

drip-melting in the midday sun. 

Now, in springtime, swallows dart in and out 

of the entrance – they’ve built a nest 

in the ornamental forged-iron lamp-holder 

suspended from the ceiling. 

For the swallows’ sake 

the entrance door is left ajar,

they bring luck to the secularized building,

says the owner, a widow called “la chatelaine”. 

Hidden away, she lives here on her own,

her bedroom overlooks the graveyard 

where tombstones whisper of the monks 

laid to rest there: Jean-Baptiste, Xavier, Geronimo.

The chatelaine is not afraid of ghosts. 

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