He sang as a bird might sing: clear,
full-bodied, matching every note
to the subtleties and splendours of a God who spoke.
But this was all in dream, in his small
private world. In ours
he had no rank or station, and he had no voice.
Yet just because he sang so in that dream
the power came to his life. He sang
of things he had not known before. His voice
thrilled through the pious monasteries. The bleak
religion of his day awoke to pray.
His world was shadowy;
the cattle alone for Caedmon were reality.
The Abbess Hilda was not real.
He knew her, of her, fed her cattle:
a symbol of his bread and butter.
Facing her across the hallowed study,
terrified to speak lest he should break the spell,
he felt the symbol change,
felt living water like a spring
well up from the abbess in her, welcome him.
The world had lost a servant, gained a limb .
This is my contribution for today to Writers Island's NATIONAL POETRY's Free Writing Month.
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