Retreat

by Alicia Viguer-Espert

After Xavier Beauvois’ film “Of God and Men,” 2010

Moonlight illuminates the stone wall
covered with ivy this time of the year,
next to it a blooming lemon tree
singly perfumes the enclosed square.
Walking down the cloister’s path,
a lizard scurries between the feet
of a sandaled monk sitting by the well.

Evening air, pristine like an Andalusian patio
after the rain, fills our lungs with peace,
breathing slows down, heartbeats only whisper,
a singing bell calls Vespers. Softly, we step 
out the courtyard to enter the chapel. 

From behind a wooden bench, 
agnostics, observe the monks closely. 
Softly, Sitting in silence, arms lifted 
they stand up before intoning 
the first Gregorian chant.
Surprised, our ears perk up listening
men bringing forth angelic voices.

Arms stretched inside white habits resemble swan’s
long necks full of grace, longing, devotion.
They take their sits again, hands now folded,
the photographer’s fixer sets the scene 
in the dark camera of our still minds.

The choreographed dance, the light,
the words, the ballet-like movements
magically bends time into musical waves,
while the mute love leaves us speechless,
comforted. 

Born and raised in Valencia, Spain, Alicia Viguer-Espert travelled the world, learned English as an adult and on her first writing attempt, (2017) was the winner of the San Gabriel Valley Poetry Festival Book with her chapbook “To Hold a Hummingbird. In 2021, Four Feather Press published her chapbook “Out of the Blue Womb of the Sea.” She writes about relationships with nature, identity, language, home, and soul. Her work has been published in national and international journals, anthologies, and magazines. She was selected as one of the “Top 39 L.A. Poets of 2017,” one of “Ten Poets to Watch on 2018,” in the Special Edition” by Spectrum Publications, and “Editor’s Choice” by Panoply in 2022. Alicia is a 2019 and 2020 Pushcart nominee.   

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s