23 December 2011

Only the Heart hears the Music

Only the heart hears the music
Near a village called Azincourt where once were gathered up
the bones of the slaughtered nine thousand, there is a peaceful forest.
Great trees, their massive trunks like carved stone pillars
raise high their branched arches to the sky, and the leaf dappled
sun lights up a tranquil space, a vast sylvan cathedral
whose bosky peal proclaims Sitque Pax non Bellum
For across these green lands men and horses have trampled;
around these woods death has come untimely by sword and arrow,
knife and noose, treachery and bullet, mine and gun.
The screech owl mimics the cries of the dying,
and the craters of destruction
masquerade as pools of sweet white lilies.

In the blackest night only imagination can see the light;
in the deepest silence only the heart hears music;
God alone can speak with the voice of a man who has no tongue.
Let your tired eyes embrace the bright darkness,
your heart rejoice in the outpourings of the passionate nightingale
and gentle quiet surround your restless soul.
God is in the darkening light and the muted crescendo;
his the still voice that echoes far, like thunder
dancing amongst the jubilant hills.
By a million years of blood and bone have these sacred fields
and lonely woods been nourished, and Mary’s Christ Child sleeps
secure now, in an old stable beneath the sheltering trees.
The Lord is in this place.
N.L.  2011
Illustration from a painting by Oliver Postgate