This is a Countdown.
Five days until Hildegard’s feast day – 17th September.
In this poem from my new book Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey,
Hildegard is a girl developing into a young woman.
In the intimacy of the anchorage Hildegard’s world of the early 12th century seems closed off.
Yet during the 20 years as a walled-in anchorite, Hildegard is preparing for the greatness of her expanding future as one of the worlds first composers, writers, environmentalists and healers.
Her voice speaks to us down the centuries. Today, 840 years later, we are reminded to be wide eyed and curious, about our planet, other species and our fellow human beings.
Take your mind back over 900 years, Jutta, her Benedictine sister and Hildegard are living and learning in the anchorage attached to a monastery with around 60 Benedictine monks in a life of prayer, work and study. It is about 1116 AD.
Wide Eyed and Curious
Under Jutta’s tutelage,
Hildegard writes out prayers.
Wide eyed and curious
she absorbs the Divine Office.
With the tablet and stylus
Latin comes alive.
The ten strings of the psaltery
zither the air
as she sings the psalms.
She and Jutta stitch gifted fine silk
for altar cloths and vestments.
Stone walls, monastic chant
by osmosis, her world of music.
Sometimes her mind drifts back to home,
smell of the Bermersheim forest
and meadows in spring.
How she loved running wildly
that last summer
in the woods with her brother Roerich.
In moments of loneliness
she gazes inwards.
Was she a tithe to God
the last of ten children?
Or despite her mother’s warning
was she betrayed
by her secret?
1. At top: Taken in March 2017 in our stay place. At work on the writing of Hildegard.
2. Spring just peeping through on the further bank of the Rhine River in Bingen.
3.This photo shows late Spring the grapes greening up on the far bank of the Rhine