A poem for Vigils

Posted by on Oct 2, 2012 in Otherhood, Vigils | One Comment
A poem for Vigils

This poem by W. S. DI PIERO captures some of the spirit of Vigils, our year-long examination of the midnight ritual of the western monastic office (part of the Art Monastic Cycle).

It’s That Time

The silence of night hours

is never really silent.

You hear the air,

even when it doesn’t stir.

It’s a memory of the day.

Nothing stirs. Memory lags.

No traffic hushing up

and down tricky hills

among the camphor trees.


No foghorns, no streetcars’

shrilling phantoms before

they emerge from tunnels.

These absences keep us alert.

No rain or street voices,

nobody calling to someone else,

Hannah, you walk the dog

tonight yet or what?


Only certain things to hear:

The sexy shifting of trees,

the refrigerator buzzing

while Cherubino sings

the best of love is enthusiasm’s

intense abandon, a voice

in song that preys on no one

and is unconscious of its joy.


1 Comment

  1. Betsy
    October 3, 2012

    Gorgeous! I find the phrase “a voice in song that preys on no one” intoxicating, maybe because I imagine it also as “a voice in song that prays on no one”.

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