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By Poet in Residence, Julia McGuinness

Today, the rouge-grained Chapel Wall
needs surgery to help it breathe.
He scrapes out lines of choking cement,
laments hubris of modern materials,
soothes the wounds with lime-mortar.
Moist stones sigh with relief.

All day they chatter as he stands close,
disclose intimacies of past relationships.
He notices cuts in their faces,
scarred by men who defied gravity
to pulley them up and cave the sky.
He reads them like a book.

Yesteryear’s masons, lodged in stone,
watch him work, envy his warm hands,
note his nod to the height of their craft;
shout down advice as stones smirk
over stories of competitive carvers.

He is living stone in this Guildsmen’s mosaic,
porous as time and honed for purpose.
Day by day, sandstones’ silica dust
sparkles their gift of Stonemason’s Lung.
They already have his heart.

Julia McGuiness
March 2020