Maynard’s Spittal, alms houses for aged persons, XVI Century, Canterbury.
From Visitation III.
And, hearts heavy with the weight of hope they carry, Mary, Elisabeth and her good old husband Go to sit, the three together, on the doorstep, Filled with shadow and silence, hands on their knees. Far away, filmy fields fade into filmy sky: Its crop of golden stars will soon be flowering. Elisabeth, tired, wonders if she’s feeling pains. They look at the evening, dream, wait, and wait again.
From Hanging on in there, an essay in meaning.
Selected poems of Marie Noël. p80.
Marie Noel (1883-1967) is new to me. An unmarried provincial French woman, she had the gift of poetry and an incarnational theology, evident here in the last two stanzas of this poem. The story and yesterday’s feast of the Visitation will be for me all the more lively for this image of three tired human beings at the end of their day, sitting in silence under God’s good heaven, watching the stars, maybe watching and waiting for one star in particular.
Waiting, not for Godot who never comes, but for God’s son and his herald; every day let us watch and wait, and prepare the way of the Lord.