Glendalough

In Ireland's green County Wicklow
A ruined abbey has witnessed
For over 1,200 years
What a band of monks
Knew about endurance.

The monks' abbey, stone crosses,
And  phallic tower
Kissed the sky for over 12 centuries.
Still the unbroken roof and walls
Are solid as a bolder.

Yet after a million prayers
Sweetened their lips,
The old monks faded,
Like western light, into oblivion.
But who were they
Who sipped the communion wine?

Now, all the flesh has gone,
Has sunk under into silence.
These quiet men,
Born again for Christ's sake,
Slipped away,
Leaving only the mute, well-ordered rocks
Of the miniature monastery to tell their story.

This beautifully haunting sanctuary
Fills me with fear and gloom
For I realize how soon
We all must be sunk under.

And like a burning match,
The memory of our heat will expire.
However, unlike St. Kevin's monks,
We will have no stone houses or towers
To say we were here.

(c) Allen Hackworth 1998