A re-blog from two years ago!
This is a serious poem appropriate for All Saints’ Day. I composed it after I had attended a stillness session at Winchester Cathedral a couple of years ago. I hadn’t known what to expect, so just opened up to the experience as our small group walked around in the evening darkness, with only a candle to light our individual progress.
Pilgrims embark, shedding light to shed light
and float in dim wickpools. Beneath are depths
plumbed by past divers, who probed the darkness
to fix this navicular skeleton,
till all passengers have scaled the gangway.
Hull’s expansive ribcage is still on stocks,
uncaulked and so the sea provides the wash
which is empyrean: all height and depth.
We flicker on skystones below the space
where gopher deck might materialise.
Speleological shipyard of beams,
how can we discern form in your shadows?
Your ark seems empty: no bats or mice squeak
in the black corners where life disappears –
but for uncharted realms of coelacanths.
Footloose, we reach the transept quarterdeck
where somnolent sailors snooze on stone bunks,
waiting for faded colours to be raised.
Myriads will peer from the multi-decks
and will welcome Love from their balconies.
And now we’re in the Captain’s gallery
where He invites voyagers to His table,
to join His golden company. Behind
His gaze stand all His crew in niche relief,
His figurehead the prow that carves the waves.
Our articles of faith lie in pyxes,
shipwright-wrought, withstanding storms, vortices.
We navigate the bridge by His compass
and try to brave tempestuous elements,
buoyed, anchored by the steerage of our course.
Drowning worlds may have returned the raven;
have ceased to speculate on whereabouts.
But the dove entered once, bringing its Branch
and when it comes again, it will lodge here,
as all restraints are loosed, the vessel launched.