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Wake at four o’clock, Byzantine time.
Attend to yourselves.
Recall that all is vanity.
Say together Matins.
At the First Hour, lift the sun
with open palms.
Water now may slake your thirst.
Remain here close enough to be seen
but far enough apart to be unheard.
As is our custom, the Third Hour.
You often will have obligations.
With my blessing you may exchange
them for food at the monasteries.
Return at once, for there are luxuries
there that we have renounced.
Cease labors at the Sixth Hour.
We now enter the period
of stillness and watchfulness.
We seek only the company of grace.
Cradle silence like the Holy Infant.
Hear what is being said
in the spaces between words.
Hot is the sun in Greece; hot our habits.
Let that too be a martyrdom, brothers.
Regret the Ninth Hour, for our
prayer time is ending.
With sunset, we shall chant Vespers,
remembering our conversations with God.
Remembering our failings.
Seeking holy correction.
And now, at evening, rip up some wild
onions and grasses for our soup.
Here, in this sack, are the barley rusks.
We eat just once a day, and only enough
to stay hungry. We sleep, after Compline,
only enough to stay weary.
But it would be better for you
if like me you kept Vigil
and became the night itself.
Calm. Silent. Attentive.
Let your soul be your eyes.
See, so much is happening!