Rievaulx Abbey: Winter

by W.McM. Cunningham

The caretaker had cleared the snow

A path was there for winter tourists

Few in number; only we two.

Disdaining his aid you left your imprint

In fresh snow, white as innocence.

Fresh fall or thaw; time wiped away

All evidence of our having been.

Not so the monks of old

Whose presence hung upon us that day;

The remnant of ‘bare ruined choirs’

Called aloud to us that they

And once mayhap their God had walked

In a green and pleasant vale.

A leaden ingot with Caesar’s seal

Told of a rapacious king long dead.

Cold and silent when we walked then,

Surely some warmth yet remains

In these gaunt walls.

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