Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Work in progress

This poem hasn’t yet come out quite as I want, so probably needs putting in a drawer for a fresh look in six months time. I don’t actually know whether St Aelred wrote any of On Spiritual Friendship in the brief period he was Abbot of the newly planted community at Revesby (coming from being Novice Master of Rievaulx and returning to be Abbot there). Sir Joseph Banks (President of the Royal Society for over forty years) helped sponsor and sailed on the Endeavour; although his country house was called Revesby Abbey it isn’t on the ground where the mediaeval Abbey stood.

Revesby Abbey: at the cross hairs

He meant to say
few people know
but said instead
‘nobody knows
where Revesby is’,
naming a place
where bumps in fields
call out to me,

where suddenly
the Wolds become
the Fens as if
the fold between
the north and south
was visible
at just the point
a line divides
the east and west;

where Aelred wrote
on being friends
and practised it,
and Joseph Banks
indexed his finds
for Captain Cook,
and on a turn
today you find
an ostrich farm;

where two of us
found the mid-point
between our homes
so each could drive
an hour or more
to meet to eat
and pray to God
for our sick friend
before he died.

Meanwhile, work began today to fill in the crack betwen the tower and south aisle in St Nicolas', Great Coates.

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