One pleasant country afternoon
Through lonely woods I strolled,
When hazy mists began to fall
In swirling cloudy folds
And blinded every beam of light,
None penetrating through,
Until at last the mists dispersed,
And rose through skies of blue.
I looked around, and then I saw
A monastery, concealed
By glades of trees and tiny flowers
That edged each greening field.
A pretty garden lay all round
The monastery, so fair
With trees in blossom, budding flowers,
Whose sweet scent filled the air.
And high above, unseen by all,
A singing nightingale,
Whose liquid trills and lilting notes
Sailed through each wooded vale.
Sing sweetly, little philomel,
Bring happiness to all –
Shy minstrel of the dusky night,
Of silent eveningfall.
And through this garden walked a monk,
A prayer book in his hand.
He heard the nightingale, and smiled
To hear the merry band
Of feathered singers in the trees,
As thrushes joined the choir,
Till warbling music filled the air
As breezes sent it higher.
And velvet bumblebees buzzed near
Each nectar-brimming flower,
While gaily-spotted ladybirds
Flew by from bloom to bower.
And as he saw each tiny life,
The monk’s heart filled with joy,
As he remembered happy days
When he was once a boy –
A quiet boy who loved God’s works
Of beauty, true and mild.
And so his life he gave to God,
To seek our Lord’s paths mild.
But now he turned, and passed from sight
Beyond the shadowed trees,
And then another mist appeared,
Upon the evening breeze.
And when it lifted from my eyes,
The monastery had gone.
And as for garden, glades, and flowers,
Of these there now was none.
For all were ghosts from other times,
Those realms of glades and moss.
But then, beneath a grassy bower,
I spied a golden Cross –
The Cross that hung around the neck
Of that mild monk I saw.
A Sign that spanned the straits of Time
To lie on grass before
A silent child in country lanes
Whose youthful fears now thawed.
Yes, blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see the Lord.