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Friday, 21 November 2008


Down dimly-lit stairwells
into a cavernous immensity
of curved brick, concrete and darkness
to stand still, transfixed,
in silent expanse
focused on the glow
and gleam
of the white stone table
over which
the crucified Christ hangs
from concrete cross-beams.
Morning light softly infiltrates,
casting shadows,
bringing the dawn.
Monks move like shadows,
spectral figures flitting
between material pillars,
robes rustle rhythmically
and doors close echoingly
as they glide
to private devotions
and public prayer.
A zither sends its solitary note
to circumnavigate
the circuitous void
where every sound is magnified
and heard.
Dual voices lead
the hushed plainsong chant
that ascends.
Our simple psalm tones
rise like smoke, like incense,
as we are broken
and opened
by luminous harmonies.
The space and acoustic
act and appear as
the inside of a hi-fi speaker;
the lantern, like an industrial chimney,
funnels the aromatic incense
of prayer and praise
to tease and to please
the senses of God.
Francis Poulenc - Domine Deus.