The Weak Monk by Stevie Smith


This is my favourite poem to date:

The Weak Monk by Stevie Smith

The monk sat in his den

He took the mighty pen

And wrote: ‘Of God and Men’.

One day the thought struck him

It was not according to Catholic doctrine,

His blood ran dim.

He wrote till he was ninety years old

Then he shut up the book with a clasp of gold

And buried it under the sheepfold.

He’d enjoyed it so much, he loved to plod,

And he thought he’d a right to expect that God

Would rescue his book alive from the sod.

Of course it rotted in the snow and rain,

No one will ever know now what he wrote of God and Men.

For this the monk is to blame.

Penguin Modern Poets 8, Brock, Hill, Smith.  Harmondsworth, Middsx(1966)

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