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The Monestary

By William Lyons


A cobbled path

dappled with phloxen hillock

and drifting shadow,

warm in a late-day sun

that leaks its way

through the green canopy above.

The world is quiet here,

other than the zip

of a hummingbird

across the lane

and the crash of waves

on the white beach far below.

Occasionally an insect or bee

darts along the edge of the path,

flitting around the wildflowers

that lean out over the stones.

The evening air is serene

over the sea,

pink and creamy clouds

a mile tall

lit from above

with yellow rays.

The water sparkles,

flecks of crushed gems

refracting the late hour’s

last throws of light.

Up ahead,

a break in the foliage

along the trail,

revealing in its recess

a small clearing

with three time-worn headstones,

green and porous

with the wind of ages.

A small stone angel,


stands atop one,

its eyes forever gazing

on the ocean.

The path winds upward,

hugs the cliff,

meanders along its lofty ridge.

Far on the blue expanse,

a faint trail of blue smoke

rises on the rim of the horizon.

The moon’s slender crescent

rises over the sea,

telling the day to retire.

Above it floats a single star,

brilliant against the approaching night.

The monastery is in view,

the path ending at its huge oak doors,

framed by age-old granite.

Its majestic towers jut skyward,

silhouetted against the evening.

An enormous old oak,

leaf-less and regal with centuries,

reaches its spindly arms

across the courtyard.

At its top,

a hundred feet up,

an owl studies the scene.

The wind sings

through the eroded window cracks,

their leaden glass

long broken and buried.

Now night has fallen,

and bird song has given way

to the sonnets of crickets and owls.

A million stars shimmer

in the eternity above,

a blue meteor

skittering across the arc

of the purple sky,

leaving its dust

to fall over faraway lands.

The stillness of the world

is surreal,

challenging to the mind

to separate the real

from the mystical.

The ghosts of abbey men

are present, unseen, but felt,

going about their midnight duties

among the trees and wind and shadow.

Nature’s chorus, crashing waves,

thrum of insects,

wind grooming tall grass,

cascades from all around

filling the world with its opera.

A dragonfly flits

from cattail to goldenrod,

its hum like scissors

cutting the night.

The rhythm of bats

pulsates like a thousand wings,

soars upward from the old church,

ravenous for fireflies

in the nearby wood,

whose flashes of light

like creation transform the forest

into a terrestrial nebula.

The moon has ascended now,

its effulgent radiance

spilling on the world

like liquid silver

from a celestial crucible.

The night dances

and laughs and rejoices

in its splendor,

nocturnal flowers

unfolding in its beacon,

sleeping fauna

awakening to its whisper.

A spotted fawn nibbles young shoots

of summer rye

in the abbey yard,

its eyes spellbound

in the lunate glow.

Faieries hide in the cones

of the coastal pines,

and chase one another

round the burbling brook,

which flows from its hillside spring,

cold and ancient.

Trout can be heard jumping,

and if seen in that fleeting second,

their iridescent bodies shine

like moon-soaked rainbows.

The gentle banks of the clear brook,

ashen in hue in the shaded moonlight,

smells of moss, rotted wood, root, and mud.

Tendrils of moonlight

play on the water,

bounce from slick rocks

like flashes of phosphor.

The peace of the night

is undisturbed here,

the old masonry

of the monastery

bathed in blue light,

still with the age of centuries.

In the heavens above,

night’s violets

sparkle like thistle abloom.

Cassiopeia weaving

on her glimmering loom,

sweet love songs

to a spring rose moon.

William Lyons is a native of Lynchburg, Virginia, who enjoys writing poetry and oil painting. He is a maintenance mechanic by trade and is pursuing a technical degree in mechatronics at CVCC.

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