High in the forest
it sprawls in the clouds.
The last mile steeply uphill.
A white butterfly dips and lifts.
Hildegard’s gaze follows it up
catches the glint of the sun
on the first stone wall.
Stoic buildings unfold
cloistered around a cobbled garth.
Their Benedictine monastery.
A monk in cinctured black robe
walks from the signposted infirmary.
From beneath his blinkered cowl
he extends a welcome.
Jutta falls on her knees in gratitude.
Hildegard overjoyed, breathes
the space of leafless beech and elms
in the skinniness of winter.
White tipped branches
disguise trees of apple and pear.
Grapevines cling bare along stone walls.
Frosty breath hangs in the air.
Her new home,
a frisson of gold in the cool noon sun.
Hammer and anvil ring,
chink of chisel, thwack of axe,
clank of well come to a hush
as a bell rings. Then the shuffle
and hiss of sandals,
forty robed monks file to chapel.
Hearing a deep, rich chant
Hildegard looks up,
hearkened to the sound.
We walked with our guide on our pilgrimage to Disibodenberg
and imagined Hildegard arriving as a young girl with her mentor Jutta,
and Hildegard hearing the music of the monks for the first time.