Tell me a tale of the earth made new
By complicated men who built strong walls
To cloister gardens and heal souls and who
Brought light to our world after Rome’s fall.
In Burgundy’s gardens leaders arose
Who taught the world to flourish, to learn, sing
And sculpt a vision of our tomorrows.
Even in ruins, I see its wellspring.
This old tale of new life is worth telling,
For I am the daughter of a soldier
And war’s long reach invaded my dwelling.
I became a midwife to help shoulder
Love’s re-birth. Cluny, lend us your story
So we too may rest in peace and rise in glory.
By Allegra Jordan, 2018.
This sonnet was written after a visit to the ruins of Cluny, the place where (arguably) Western Europe was raised from war, plague and famine. The Cluny abbey system was a commercial network of spiritual, literary and hospitality enterprises.