I've snuck in,
drawn near at night,
a cyber visitor,
an online pilgrim,
visiting the chapel-home
your Vatopedi sons have prepared for you.*
Rejoicing in your dignity,
they call you Abbess!
Someone has left two candles behind
I'm presuming to light,
but all the more my inner being lit up -
so glad for the solitude with you
and your boy in his silver robe.
who do I know needing comfort tonight?
The UNICEF children of the television plea,
and their brothers and sisters,
withering in squalor,
hidden in fear.
And their parents...
Oh, the fearful mothers running,
hoping to survive the sail-away
from the hateful menace,
and the panicking who are told to
You're on the next flight out.
Console the bent ones
who get no bathroom break,
who pick the lettuce,
who wear hooded shirts to conceal their faces
for fear of being returned to their fearsome land.
And the ones who clean the toilets
and change the beds they could never
afford to sleep in
for even a night,
the ones who wash the dishes,
who breathe the demolition dust.
now I must ask you to do something
against your nature,
but would you dis-comfort us?
Discomfort us in our indifference,
Discomfort the politicians and the churchmen,
the ones with so much power,
the clubs of billionaires,
the corporate boards,
the media moguls,
the investors and inventors
and the people we call stars.
Discomfort the men who love to wear decorations
and costumes of distinction and gradation:
buttons and ribbons,
badges and crowns,
feathers and medals,
veils and rings.
even those who live (they think)
on the lower rungs of our country.
Discomfort us who have so much,
yet still complain so much.
Discomfort us in our pettiness,
so-smartness and shopping.
And now I'll simply sit here some moments,
near the lamp which holds an eternal flame.
Perhaps the young monk will come in from
his disturbed sleep
to refresh the oil
which keeps the flame alive,
and who will no doubt ask you,
for love to be refreshed in his heart.
* Vatopedi is one of the twenty monasteries on Mount Athos which is a mountainous peninsula in North East Greece. About 2000 monks live on Mount Athos