Grey Abbey: Built in 1193, Later Burnt, Later Restored


To recommence the tunnel, the whole, the many rooms
to throw, to take apart the center stone,
to go into the hole, to the space

between the gate: when we are all alone, go in.
We are not in a ruin, all
dead. Into the quarry,

upon. The cloak room. The cloistered
arc, the chancel, cut. Holding up
hope to be lost in the open

plain, alarmed. The second room was for the
key monks. From off came falling in
the gate, the grace, to take out water and bifurcate

the hole, to open the gate to call for a bird I don’t know.


Burnt into the center in the back, instead,
a bird in the pieces, the branches, ahead cars and stops

into the wind, the stream leaks out the
burnt out fields, the pieces of my earth closed on the charred roof, the bricks

reused. If nothing is a
refuge. Grey Abbey redone, ordered up to be

remembered then, when plants run and birds can make
no sounds but God when they fly, above.


In the middle of the wood, the world:           to see
          inside the grace between
the slopes of hope to part
          the rope of going forth into
the world which stands for hope,
          the wood. Why start back
to the place you started from, which you
          left. Nothing to repay but
innocence           filled up and
          missed. A distant landscape, a pure
escape. The cloister with cracked walls
          for holes and graves to fill
a lamppost. Tiny crows. Disappearing to the hillside

                                                            over the stones.


The wart for stomach care for
hope for mind blanched,
sought. Or open the window
to shine light on. Even the garden
will not see to plant light
in the wheat, delivered of time,
of trees.


To open wide inside is not to
          flee, to hide above
               a field where birds rest, with

leaves, with innocence
open out the gate, blackbirds
          that do not fade. To see. A corner of the will,

                         a shield. To build a lantern all across,
          on up. From which to choose (cascading,

Psalm: What It Is To Feel

It was not a flailing on the walls, a flying
into the ears of corn, or uncovered sorrow
in the fields. A browbeating on. A lark
spun. In the morning. When everything was away
and gone. We were not in the darkness
and the day will not uncover light in the deep blackness.
We are what we asked for God. To trust is not
to lose. It rained. The moon emerged onto the clouds
beneath, above the ankle, exposed. A puddle in the wood.
We couldn’t look at you, before. There is no model no
memory or mimicking of happening of what
happens after the flights have gone, the
backs and the facts, the big arch of the farmlands. What it is
to feel happiness and not to move.

Kate Thorpe is currently living in Germany on a Fulbright Scholarship, where she is researching and writing poems about post-industrial architecture in the Ruhrgebiet area. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in American Letters & Commentary, Court Green, Volt and WSQ.