The Old Priority


What mysteries
lie hidden here?
Leaning spire, grey stone walls,
tower, pond and rushes;
heavy doors and cobbled floors,
stone steps spiral
to a loft and tower above;
below, the choir,
the chant now silent;
sanctuary with its barrelled ceiling;
Ogham stone with its Cross
and ancient script;
old gatehouse, dovecote,
cloister, kitchen with its oven,
monks’ living quarters
with battlements above;
an ancient well,
stepped ponds,
walled gardens in the valley;
the old mill
with its broken stone,
beds of cress
and running stream.

What history it tells
of holy monks,
Samson, Illtud, Dyfrig,
David, Gildas, Paul of Leon;
of pirates, pilgrims,
Viking raiders,
and lesser men now dead.
Why does the Black Monk
still make his lonely passage
in the night?
And that well, was Pyro
really drunk,
and did he drown there?

Where was that monk bricked up
with the Glastonbury jewels?
Does Paul Jones lie buried
in the bay?
And is there treasure sunk?
What else lies buried deep?
What other secrets
does the Priory keep?

David Hodges

With the kind permisson of the author David Hodges

David Hodges is a monk at the Cistercian Abbey on Caldey Island, off the south coast of Wales. In his collections of poetry he reflects the monastic life of prayer in an island setting. The Islands beauty, woodlands, birds, wild life, flowers, seascape and more are also reflected in his poems. Caldey Island has its own facebook page.

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