NOTE: A continuation of part 04.
I used to wonder how ancient poets
created poems that were so long.
I'm discovering that, once you have
some idea of where you're headed,
the details begin to come naturally.
The scene started in part 04 and
continued this week in part 05
will have to be continued next week.
(I've already written some for next week,
but I stopped where the break
seemed most appropriate.)
This poem is already nearing the length
of the longest poem I've ever written...
and it's barely getting started!
They stepped inside. The Father led
His friend away from the sanctuary,
Along a narrow hallway to his room.
Pausing to smile at Dietrich, he said,
"I think a cozy home provides
Far better rest for troubled souls
Than a cramped confessional ever could."
He opened the door, bowed slightly,
And said, "Besides, I've yet to see
A confessional suited for sharing tea."
The Father's room was little more
Than a booth itself, with a table,
Two chairs, and a pallet for a bed.
He hadn't been here in a while, but
Dietrich still felt quite at home.
He sometimes wondered if he'd missed
His calling; surely such places
Held no attraction for normal men!
Many a night had the two men spent
Engaged in wars at a chessboard, pawns
In the game of life, each pretending
He wielded the power to impose his will
Upon others – just a game, of course, no more.
But the war of wits had a fellowship
About it, a sharing of deeper things
That can only pass when a bond is formed.
Pieter was right, of course; the Father
Was the only man who might ease his mind.
The water was boiled, the tea steeped,
The cups shared with a bit of bread.
Trivial patter passed between them –
Weather, business, family matters,
Gossip. Then both men sat, speechless;
Their eyes met, and Benedict raised
An eyebrow – nothing more than that –
And Dietrich's troubled words poured out
Unbidden: "Father, I fear my soul is damned."
"Do you now?" he asked softly, the slightest
Trace of a smile crossing his lips.
"And here, I thought we had a problem
That might prove too great for us to solve."
Dietrich slammed the table with his hand.
"You mock me!" he started, but words failed him
And all he could do was cradle his face
In his shaking hands. Then he jumped
As he felt the Father's hand on his.
"Forgive me, my son," Benedict cooed.
"I meant no harm; such problems are
My realm of expertise, you know.
I thought a bit of levity
Might lift your spirits. I was wrong.
Forgive me, please, and share with me
This inexplicable burden you carry."
Dietrich looked up, suddenly aware
Of tears on his cheeks, and stammered;
"Forgive me also…" but Benedict
Raised a finger to his own lips.
"No more words are needed between us,
My friend, except they lift your burden."
He studied Dietrich's face. "I've never seen
You thus. Whatever could have caused
You such distress? Of all my charges,
The state of your soul troubles me least!"
"Do you believe in werewolves, Father?"