Daaskmere Monk

William of Meadowsford

Book Cover

arrowShawn Postoff

Copyright © 1997 - 2009
arrowInfinitive Ink Limited


II ill title Dawn Advances

The following morn I was woken ere dawn,
And softly commanded to put my clothes on.
‘Twas mother who took me then, bundled complete,
Out through the old doorway and into the street.
At mid-days the town was a grand enterprise:
The market alive with the merchants’ proud cries,
And children and horses and livestock all ‘round
Would weave them a tap’stry of chaos on ground.
‘Adventure’ was th’only great word I had used
To rightly describe my sensations amused.
But this day was different from all of the rest
When we’d come before to our produce invest:
The sky was still navy, and Canterbuild slept.
The market was empty, to homes people kept.

In short time we’d left from the town’s central place,
And trampled the roadway unaltered in pace.
The streets had ‘come narrower, not like the square,
The dwellings were humble now, solemn in prayer.
For we were approaching a looming design
That rose up to Heaven with license divine.
Those faces! Such faces as never I’d seen,
Of angels and gargoyles and rows of men lean,
In prayer and in judgment and worship and flight,
And windows arch-pointed of colour and light.
The great wooden doors most majestic’ly carved,
Surrounded by stone robes of tall men half-starved.
Above us, like sunshine of radiant glass,
The mighty Rosetta hung proudly o’er mass.
Here was the cathedral the town had new built.
Said mother, “The last of its carvings was gilt,
And placed on the highest and tallest great spire
The day you were born to bring joy and inspire.”

I entered with reverence for that sacred place,
Where somber, damp stone-work did narrate His grace.
But I was a youngster, still new to this life:
I had no conception of penance or strife,
So could not conceive of His love or His call,
Considered His message a story, that’s all.
My awe was directed toward the great height:
That space - its enclosure - did dazzle my sight.

How well I remember that building, that art.
We walked slowly inward, deep into the heart
Of holiest house, wherein glory, it seemed,
Was captured in sunlight when downward it streamed.
Tho’ none had arrived yet, its promise was sure:
The dawn was advancing so cloudlessly pure
And through the tall glasswork that soared to the sky
The glow of the morning breathed slowly a sigh,
As if to prepare the great shadows above
For Heavenly colour and radiant love.
‘Twas then a man entered my small field of view.
He looked at me, smiled, and asked if I knew
Right where I was standing and what it did mean.
I answered him simply, “Such wonders I’ve seen!”

The priest, he did laugh then, sparks flashed in his eyes.
And then he made call for my spirit to rise:
“This church is a body,” his language enticed,
“Of our mighty saviour, our Lord, Jesus Christ.
For here is the nave, where you entered His pore,
Far back at our great heavy wooden-carved door.
Come, walk with me further as eastward we go,
Look left and look right at the transepts that show
His arms full outstretched on the cross where He died
To drive out our evil and furious pride.
And here we have come now to beautiful choir,
Where voices do sing that to Heaven aspire.
And next comes the sanct’ary, look you a while,
For soon you shall see the good Lord’s holy smile.
His visage is there to forgive and give guide,
‘Tis your sins He suffered for, bled, and then died.
And now in the morn as the apse comes aglow,
It shines all around as His eastern halo.”
His words echoed sure through the high vaulted space.
They touched every ear on each glass-coloured face,
And sounded a wake-up to all of its art,
A message of light to give worship its start.
In gloried response did the sun come to bear,
Burst o’er the horizon and through the cold air
Did strike with a triumph the panes in its path,
And rush to cascade in a radiant bath
The giant enclosure that now was renewed.
With colour and light was the darkness subdued.

So now as the details of form were revealed,
‘Twas deep in the caverns of Christ I concealed.
“O look!” I exclaimed as I pointed on high,
“If this is the body, then there his ribs lie!”

Said Father, “My boy, you are close, I’ll say why:
Above are not ‘his’ ribs, but His ribs that lie.”

I do now confess I did not understand,
But nodded as mother let go of my hand.
Then she to the priest close approached and spoke low,
“Dear Father Andreas, there’s places boys go
To train to become them most valiant knights,
And carry them always the true Christian lights.
I beg you to find him a place in that world:
Provide him a future most gilded and pearled.”

Grey-bearded Andreas reflected a while,
Then looked to my mother with warm-hearted smile.
His voice, reassuring, delivered with grace,
Responded it softly, “I’ve thought of a place.
A beautiful manor, a gracious, good lord,
They’ll train him there well to sing chivalrous chord.
Believe me, my lady, when I to you say,
‘Tis here he’ll be knighted some glorious day.
O’er there will he vigil afore he’s gold-spurred,
And comes then a Soldier of Christ and His Word.”
My mother gazed down at me keenly and said,
“One day a bright banner shall fly o’er your head.
And you then to battle and hunt and to game,
Will herald a right lordly title and name!”

The priest then bent down to come level with me.
His deep-sunken eyes held me seriously,
“You’re seven years old now, the infant is slain.
A varl’ton you’ll be now to serve and be trained
By knight nobly fashioned, with skill and with poise.
Look now unto manhood, forget thoughts of boys.”