The continuing story of the monk

Stephen Chinnock

4 April 2020

So one morning
After obligatory prayers
And fasting to sharpen perception
Fra Sebastiano
With his superior
Fra Bartolomeo
Climbed slowly up the ancient
Stone stairs
To a vantage point

Looking down on a wooded valley
Interspersed with cultivated fields
They noted the absence of
The country folk working
They were all at home
Crouched together
In their hovels
Nearing starvation
In great fear of the contagion

The holy men
Turned immediately
On their heels
Hurried to the orchard
And gardens of delight
They took woven baskets
Filled them to the brim
With ripe fruits
Fresh vegetables and herbs

They broke their seclusion
Behind the strong closed gates
Proceeding forth to deliver
Sustenance and hope
To their flock of miserable folk
Leaving each bundle of abundance
Separated at safe distances

They then retreated
Behind the locked doors
Devoting themselves to prayers
For the salvation of the masses
Who sat in the hovels enjoying
A feast both nutritious and delicious
They too said prayers
To thank those generous monks

Where are the monks
Of our time
Scomo and friends perhaps
Lashing out with largesse
But leaving behind large sections
Of our once integrated community

Forget those in casual
And interrupted employment
Or those who work in the arts
Who we need more than ever
To interpret the scary world
We are living in

All those folks
Will have to scramble
Up a mountain of despair
Hoping to find
Fra Sebastiano
And Fra Bartolomeo
Waiting with their baskets
Of fresh produce