Evensong, King’s College Chapel

Our days are longer than glass, longer than

Stone, longer than light and air, longer than

The waters of this softly flowing river that will

Pass, rise, fall, and pass again while we speak

These words, sing these words. Our days are

Longer than prayer or scholarship, than ambition

Or boasting or riot or sleeping or waking or food

Or kisses or the bright exalting summer of youth.

They are longer than sorrow or rejoicing or love

Or bones turned to powder. Our steps trace and

Retrace the paths of echoing generations, and

We are indistinguishable among them. For a

Thousand years has the black-haired girl sat in

Choir and stared black-eyed, and for a thousand

More will she sit and stare. We will speak these

Words, sing these words. For centuries the man

Has sat dry in his faith, and for centuries more

Will he sit. We will speak these words, sing these

Words. The dry man will find his faith and the

Black-eyed girl will look up. We have no need

For rushing. With our words and our singing

We make this glass and this stone the great

Still center of creation. The long grass moves

From the breath of our words. The trailing

Willows sway from the breath of our singing.

The river flows softly while we speak and we

Sing. These words and this singing pass from

Mouth to mouth and their living is continuous.

We do not matter at all. Our broken ineluctable

Particulars are translated into these words and

This singing, and we are made whole by them.

When the windows are blank cold darkness we

Speak. When the stones glow skin warm we sing.

There is confidence in our words and endurance

In our singing. The softly flowing river passes.

We speak and we sing.

Peter McEllhenney is a writer living in Philadelphia, PA. His work has appeared in Philadelphia Stories, the Seminary Ridge Review, Referential Magazine, The Apeiron Review, and Blast Furnace. He blogs at www.PeterGalenMassey.com.