by Don Magin
They live a simple quiet life
away from bustling daily strife.
By day they work the fertile ground
amidst God’s beauty so renowned.
Needing not the gifts of others
these two monks, these holy brothers,
as daylight fades and light grows dim
they brush the dirt and sweat from skin.
They season grain with sage and thyme
and drink brew from the fruit of vine.
After supping at end of day
their work all done, they kneel to pray.
In chapel built of wood and sod
their praises raise in song to God.
The tall one’s voice is like a frog
like bark that’s falling off a log.
The other’s voice, a rusty gate,
fingernails on a board of slate.
But every night they sing their love,
hymns of praise to the Lord above.
A caterwaul, but so sincere
with no one else around to hear.
One day as they complete their chores
a knock vibrates the abbey doors.
A handsome lad with gold for hair
seeks shelter and some bread to share.
They take him in and offer food:
squash that’s braised, tomatoes stewed.
They ask him if he’d like to stay
and join them while their hymns they pray.
His favorite is “On Eagle’s Wings,”
with lilting voice the hymn he sings.
As sweet and clear as velvet fog
it stifled both the Gate and Frog.
The two monks hear with breath in lung
the way they think it should be sung.
So overwhelmed with awe and doubt,
they never let their voices out.
That night they couldn’t get to sleep
remembering his voice so sweet.
But as the night turned into morn,
they heard the voice of God, forlorn,
My sons, I am so very tired.
I couldn’t sleep when I retired.
No singing came to end my day.
You didn’t raise your voice to pray.
God, something must be very wrong.
Did you not hear our guest’s sweet song?
Oh, him, of course I heard his voice.
But don’t you know he has no choice.
He’s just an angel, nothing more.
I sent him on an earthly chore.
Like all angels, it’s his duty
to offer praise and songs of beauty.
Not like you, you have a choice.
You choose to offer me your voice.
I got so used to hearing you,
all those beautiful hymns you do,
I couldn’t fall asleep last night.
I worried you were not all right.
But Father, we are Frog and Gate.
Our voices must make your ears grate!
My precious sons, you’ve got it wrong.
I love to hear your voices strong.
I made the frog and rusty gate,
I like the things that I create.
Please don’t be silent anymore,
and don’t you dare your God ignore.
They break their fast and grab their clothes,
and head to field with rakes and hoes.
They cannot wait for day to end
to sing their God to sleep again.
About the Writer
Don Magin retired from careers as research chemist and science/math teacher. Jobs of special pride have been husband/father/grandfather/great-grandfather, coach, tutor, and Santa Claus. He and Margaret, his wife of 53+ years, live in Bon Air, Virginia. He has stories and poems in Central Virginia Poetry Bard Magazine, Sylvia, WestWard Quarterly, Vita Brevis (Nothing Divine Dies Nature Anthology), and other publications. He also has a volume of inspirational poetry and stories, Walk with Purpose, available on Lulu.
Photo is in the Public Domain.