previously published in Writing
At night they brought me here:
To enter a convent hedged about with beech,
Papery rolled golds, rattled like tiles
Enclosed a dark brick height, no windows showed.
They sheltered, and one pushed
The wicket open, "In". He didn't look.
Contaminated thought, emboldened me to act
Differently to parents, soldiers:
Lovingly to Abelard
Chill, chased silver
Bowls on polished tables coolly contained
Pointy greens, berries of corduroy, brown hairy trails
Of imprisoned ivies.
Femininity made sense
Of Christianity, my habit's blacks
Burnt for my Sisters, for my Christ.
We all knew the dust smell
Of the stained-window carpet in the chancel:
We knew that violent men
Were only backed by that, by fluff, flaked skin:
our bright blood
Hurt no-one, brightened into thought
Of Christ, of Sisters acting in His Name
Christian because of blood, and sexual seclusion.
I, most dangerous,
Held the elected post of Abbess.