I’m going to be the abbot
Of a monastery on the Adriatic.
There’ll be he-monks, there’ll be she-monks
Seven in all. The sea will gleam
Like a peacock’s neck and the salt winds blow.
Brother Pride will keep the door.
O he’ll be strict. No relative
That I deplore will bypass him.
And Sloth will keep us well amused.
The hours that she and I will spend
Messing around with her safety pins.
Our chaplain will be sister Lust;
She’ll celebrate a daily mass
Her chapel would be full of fumes.
And Avarice will ring the bell
To let the people outside know
The full extent of our happiness.
Gluttony will keep a cellar
Full of beer and excellent wines.
He’ll cook us the most wonderful dinners.
Envy gets the outside jobs;
I think she’ll look quite picturesque
Bending in her scapula
To rake the leaves among the graves-
Make-believe graves because I reckon
None of us is going to die
With the sole exception of Sister Anger.
Such a poorly little thing
She’ll sicken surely. Then we’ll raise
A marble monument in the choir
And sing a cheerful requiem.
Above the gatehouse I’ll inscribe
In letters glossed with burnished gold
Amor Vincit Omnia.
The crickets will go chirk chirk chirk,
The bees fly buzzing round my head
While I breathe my orisons
Under a sky of perfect blue
Among the wildflowers on the cliff.