The Secret Garden


Now that the priests have moved out of Xavier Hall,
I am able to explore their secret garden.

The inner courtyard has one large willow, several cherry trees,
And many ferns lining the surrounding brick walkway.

It is serene and abandoned beneath the trees,
While the surrounding four walls provide a sense of protection
From the life of the campus outside.

One large black barbecue grill stands ready to dispense good will.
Voices drift in and out of focus, echoes from the days
When fêtes champêtres took place here.

Now the Fathers have new quarters,
In a smaller setting that reflects their shrinking numbers.

Still they perform the work of the Church.
But what is the work of the Church?
Is it God's will that we should know?

The small chapel near the garden is locked.
At the entrance, there are three wooden drawers,
Labelled soiled linen, amices, and purificators.

Peering through double doors, I can see orange chairs
Drawn up in a semicircle around the altar.

Outside in the garden, the trees continue to stand watch
Over their grassy domain.

Above our heads rise four floors of vacant dormitories.
Soon the religious life will give way to secular students;
The courtyard will echo with laughter again.


©2016 Michael Fraley




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