This morning, almost in spite of myself, hearing
church bells riding the winds, I wonder
how many centuries the chimes have enchanted the land

and hearing plainchant glide on the rising gusts
I feel time become timeless: hypnotic priests
intoning their triune God for hours and hours

with prolonged Amens. The island’s olives and pines,
white-washed walls and dark blue blinds
threaded with the purple syntax of perpetual psalms

and I, who no longer believe in the efficacy of prayer,
yield for one instant . . . for one moment, half incline,
listen to an older scale, breathe in consecrated air,

half-whisper Credo,


Peter Abbs is Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Sussex. He is the
author of a number of books on aesthetic education and eleven volumes of poetry. The most
recent Voyaging Out was published by Salt in 2009.

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