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The Monastery
by [?]

Beyond the wall the passion flower is blooming,
Strange hints of life along the winds are blown;
Within, the cowled and silent men are kneeling
Before an image on a cross of stone,
And on their lifted faces, wan as death,
I read this simple message of their faith:
“The trail of flame is ashen,
And pleasure’s lees are gray,
And gray the fruit of passion
Whose ripeness is decay;
The stress of life is rancor,
A madness born to slay;
They only miss its canker
Who live with God and pray.”

Beyond the wall lies Babylon, the mighty;
Faint echoes of her songs come drifting by;
Within there is a hymn of consecration,
A psalm that lifts the fervent soul on high;
And yet, sometimes, where bows the hooded choir,
There comes the old call of the World’s Desire:
“The rose’s dust is ashen
Be petals white or red,
And vain the sighs of passion
When summer’s light is fled;
The garden’s fruitful measure
Is crowned with bloom today;
They only miss its treasure
Who turn their hearts away.”