When the night falls over
The grounds of Carlisle Cathedral
One can hear the Paen of the
Ancient bells keeping time,
Telling us in a melancholy rhyme
That they can see vast forms
Moving fantastically past the
Worn-out sandstone bricks of
The lofty walls that rear their heads.
Like a kaleidoscope, images of
A distant past parade themselves,
Incongruous, fleeting, through
The immemorial grounds. Near the
Fratry, look, there goes a Roman
Centurion who marches in long
Strides to the Jupiter temple in
Search of an oracle to interpret
His dream in the hope of a good omen.
Now, walking past the glass-stained
Window of rainbow hues, there
Goes a Viking warrior brandishing
His evil-looking axe in the direction
Of Odin’s temple. He is in a hurry
To make an offer so the god can
Bestow upon him his blessings,
And grant the warrior a successful
Night of pillage and mayhem.
When the bells toll the
Latest hour of night, a
Hooded monk detaches his
Shadowy figure from the
East wall, in search of the
Grave inadvertently moved
To other haunts, far away
From his original resting place
Which was left undisturbed for centuries.
The kaleidoscope turns once more;
Several other spots in time can
Be seen in a single night
Juxtaposing, and then vanishing
Over the ancient haunts where
The cathedral stands, lofty, proud.
When the bells toll the merry
Tunes of morning, all is gone.
The multitude of images rooted
In the past soon departs because
This kaleidoscope can only
Be seen at ungodly hours.