Thursday, March 31, 2016

What the Monks Know: "Horarium"

We only have a few more weeks to go in the pre-publication order time for my forthcoming chapbook.  Have you ordered yours yet?

You may ask, why not wait to order until it's ready?  Because the press run is determined by how many books are ordered in this time period.  If the sales reach certain levels, more books are published, and since a second printing is unlikely, it would be great to make it to some of those higher levels.

Here's a poem to whet your appetite.  I first got the idea for it while I was at Mepkin Abbey, so this week, while I'm there, it pleases me to post this poem which was first published in Poetry East:

Horarium The monks get their morning
news from the Psalms. We brew
coffee and scan the TV stations
for news we can use:
diet tips, a weather report,
the quickest way around the traffic jams.

We sit in our coffin
like cars and watch the sun rise
across sluggish traffic. The monks chant
to each other across the chancel
as the morning light shifts
across the sanctuary.

Chained to our computers,
we undo the work of past days
and create documents to be dismantled
tomorrow. The monks tend
the chickens and mulch
the seedlings. We shred
documents while the monks
welcome visitors to a meal.

At night, we click through cable
channels, our glazed eyes focusing on nothing.
The monks light candles
in a darkened chapel and wait
for the final blessing
of the day, a splash
of holy water and a benediction.

To see how this poem interacts with others, order my forthcoming chapbook, Life in the Holocene Extinction here.  You'll find other poems of consolation and hope, poems that explore what elements of modern life give us hope in the face of all the stresses and calamities we face both individually, as a culture, and as a planet.

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