Whitby Sonnet


The poetry of the arches along the aisle and nave
Fingers rise and fall along the remembrances and memorials
Hollow before the enacted memory of the Body and Blood
Held in Latin prose above the Northumbrian dead and reborn

Caedmon and ungulate early English above the houses of Whitby
Clinging to the cliffs above the wild and dancing sea like words
Spoken by a brazen God who would lift such a psalm of Grace
From the roiling chaos of the island peoples

Among the hills and bays walks Hilda and her sisters and her brothers
Like a law like a warm sun’s light like the fragrance of Hyperion clover
Come up over the Norman tides from softer hills and harder rules
Shaped by Aiden’s hopes and Adrian’s failures along the northern wall

The Abbey stands in ruin now and the waves break still futile
Unable to accomplish what debt did in no time


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